Mitch McConnell Opens Door for Debate on Obama Powers

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky set the stage for a debate on legislation that would give broad authority to President Barack Obama to use military force against the radical militant group Islamic State.

McConnell generally has opposed the thought of revisiting the authority of the president for Middle East military operations, warning the legal language favored by the White House administration contained limitations, which could tie up the hands of a newly elected president in November.

Republicans have resisted as well in accepting any of the responsibility for the military operations that could restrict their ability to be critical of the foreign policy initiatives of the White House, which they views as being unsuccessful for the most part.

However, aides to Senator McConnell said this new legislation sponsored by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was sufficiently broad as well as providing a new platform that showcases what the Republicans consider to be the deep failing of President Obama in his fight against the ISIS.

Earlier this month, during the State of the Union address, Obama called upon Congress to give him authorization for military actions against ISIS. He called upon lawmakers to vote.

Graham said he agreed with Obama that Congress should vote to give the president the authority to fight ISIS but that there are not any limits to time, means or location in the authority.

Graham said his resolution gives the president all the power he needs to fight ISIS anywhere they may go, with the use of any methods necessary, and for as long as is needed.

The South Carolina Republican asked if everyone, meaning Congress, was in as ISIS is all in and moving across the globe.

McConnell took the procedural step Thursday allowing him to put the bill from Graham directly onto the calendar of the Senate and bypassing a normal committee process.

No one is sure how the Senate Democrats would respond to the Graham measure and some are not even clear on how the new authorization would really change anything.