Updated 12:13 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters Thursday he believes President Barack Obama will be sending an Authorization for Use of Military Force to Congress very shortly.
"I'm expecting that there will be an Authorization for Use of Military Force sent up here in the coming days," Boehner said. "And we're going to go through a rigorous set of hearings, and continue to discuss this." When he was pressed if he actually meant "the coming days," Boehner reiterated that he believed that to be the case.
"It's also going to be incumbent upon the president to go out there and make the case to the American people for why we have to fight this fight," the Ohio Republican said. "And his actions are going to be an important part of trying ... to get the votes to actually pass an authorization."
The tussle over a new AUMF has been a long-standing issue with Congress and the president. During his State of the Union address, Obama called on Congress to pass a new AUMF for activities in the Middle East. But Boehner has insisted that such an authorization is usually written by the White House and sent to Congress. Boehner has been waiting on the AUMF before announcing a vote.
The AUMF is expected to cover a rather amorphous war — approving military actions against "the Islamic State" or some variance — and it is expected to be a tough vote. Such authorizations are usually among the most significant measures lawmakers vote on, as well as one that is long-remembered — by constituents and members themselves.
Boehner seemed to understand the difficulty in approving a new authorization Thursday when he made the case that Obama would have to go out and sell the measure to the American people, preemptively placing the blame for a failed AUMF vote on Obama, not him.
"This is not going to be an easy vote," Boehner said.
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