House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that President Barack Obama should not expect to receive military authorization to continue the fight against terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While Boehner has argued that Obama has not presented a real strategy on how to effectively fight ISIS, other lawmakers, such as Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., have said that does not justify inaction.
"The president's request for an authorization of the use of military force calls for less authority than he has today. I just think, given the fight that we're in, it's irresponsible. This is why the president, frankly, should withdraw the authorization of use of military force and start over," Boehner told reporters on Tuesday, which CBS News said "may have been the nail in the coffin" in Obama's request.
The U.S. has been conducting air strikes alongside a broad coalition of international allies against the Islamic militants, who have captured significant territory in Iraq and Syria. Nearly a year has passed since the U.S. started carrying out operations in the region, however, and Obama may need military authorization, also known as the AUMF, by Congress in order to continue the fight.
"With new gains made by ISIL in Ramadi, we know that hope is not a strategy," Boehner was quoted as saying by ABC News. "The president's plan isn't working. It's time for him to come up with a real, overarching strategy to defeat the ongoing terrorist threat."
The House Speaker was referring to the Iraqi city of Ramadi, which on Sunday was seized by ISIS militants. It was one of the terror group's biggest victories since its campaign in Iraq began in the summer of 2014.
The fall of the key city, located only 70 miles from Baghdad, prompted Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, to slam Obama's decision to withdraw American troops from the country in 2011. McCain called American's strategy in the region "one of the most disgraceful episodes in American history."
Boehner's criticism of Obama's request is centered on the president asking for even less authority than he currently holds, which would be problematic for a continuous campaign against ISIS.
Cole said, however, that while he understands Boehner's concerns, it is more important to first grant the president formal authorization for the war and then push for changes in the strategy.
"I think we're at risk of losing our institutional power to authorize and conduct war, so the stakes here constitutionally are much greater than the issue itself," Cole told CBS.
"I'm not critical of the speaker and I would like a different kind of resolution, but I think the best way to get there is to simply start acting," he said.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest hit back against Boehner's remarks, and said that the Obama administration has held dozens of meetings with lawmakers about the AUMF.
"At some point, it has to be the responsibility of the speaker of the House to do his job and for members of Congress to do their job. And we have not seen members of Congress, and we certainly have not seen the speaker of the House do his job when it comes to this specific matter," Earnest said, according to Voice of America.
Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, added that that Boehner has "abdicated responsibility" when it comes to the request.
"The reality is that we wait only for the courage to act, and that is not something that can be delivered by pouch from the White House," Schiff said. "At the end of the day, it is the Congress that will suffer from its apathy."
Schiff and Cole both wrote a letter to Boehner in April, urging him to bring the AUMF up for debate and a vote.
"I think many lawmakers don't think there's anything to be gained and a lot to be risked by voting for a war authorization measure, particularly a war as messy as this one," Schiff added. "There's a great deal of apathy when it comes to fulfilling our constitutional responsibility of either declaring war or refusing to authorize a war."