The story so far: There is a war on, in case you hadn’t heard. Except it’s not a war, because Congress has not declared one, and sees no need to consider the question before the upcoming midterm election. Say what you will, but it’s Congress.
We heard earlier this month from Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and others about how the Senate GOP intended to run out the clock before the midterm elections; a week ago, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) simply closed shop in the House of Representatives, getting his caucus out of town after eight working days in order to spend the subsequent fifty-four calendar days hiding from tough votes. And he did this on the same day he complained about how the unemployed have a sick idea that they would rather just sit around.
So, right. There’s a war on. Sort of. And Congress has no intention of doing anything more than rubber-stamping an existing covert program. Republicans, especially, will get back to complaining but refusing to face votes after the midterm election.
Right. There’s this, from Carl Hulse of The New York Times:
With American airstrikes in Syria continuing, Speaker John A. Boehner is increasingly convinced that Congress must hold a full debate on granting President Obama the authority to use military force against terrorists.
“I have made it clear that I think the House and the Congress itself should speak,” the speaker said in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with First Draft.
But Mr. Boehner believes a post-election, lame-duck session is the wrong time for such a weighty decision.
“Doing this with a whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this,” he said.
Mr. Boehner, who is open to a more expansive military campaign to destroy the Islamic State, thinks lawmakers should take up the issue after the new Congress convenes in January.
At that time, he said, President Obama should come forward with a proposal for consideration.
So there’s a war on. Kind of. But that question can wait until next year.
The Speaker offers a rather damning indictment of Congress. No wonder the American people have no faith in their legislative branch; the Speaker of the House has no faith in it, either.
And that is about the kindest interpretation of Boehner’s disgraceful Speakership we might distill from this latest episode.
Hulse, Carl. “Boehner Says New Congress Should Debate Military Action”. First Draft. 25 September 2014.