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McCarthy Suggests Post-Election Vote Authorizing Military Force

McCarthy signals a post-election vote authorizing use of military force. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Emerging from a GOP leadership meeting Monday evening, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy signaled that, after the midterm elections, there's a decent chance the House holds a new vote authorizing military force in the Middle East.  

Asked during an impromptu hallway interview with a gaggle of reporters whether the House would be working on a new Authorization for Use of Military Force to combat Islamic State terrorists, McCarthy said that "after November," he thought there would be an "opportunity" to at least debate an AUMF.  

"I know a lot of members would want start to have that debate, or at least have that discussion, but I think everyone needs to have more information," the California Republican said. McCarthy also gave hints on the House's initial proposal to deal with ISIS, also known as ISIL. McCarthy suggested the House would vote on an amendment to the continuing resolution on Wednesday that would grant the administration the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels.  

He suggested a robust debate on the amendment — when Fox News correspondent Chad Pergram said he had heard they would debate the amendment for six to eight hours, McCarthy responded that he thought Pergram's first number was a "very good number" — and he said the amendment would clarify that it was not an authorization itself.  

As for the underlying continuing resolution, McCarthy said he didn't anticipate any problems with passage. While he wouldn't commit to being able to pass the bill with just GOP votes, he said he "always" looks at continuing resolutions as bipartisan bills.  

"I mean, if the Democrats want to shut down government, I don't know, I didn't think that was their idea, and if they wanted to go against their president on this stuff, I'm not thinking that's smart on their part," he said. "I haven't heard them doing that, I don't anticipate them doing that."  

McCarthy also briefly addressed the question whether he'd be holding weekly sessions to answer reporter questions.  

"I want to do pen-and-pads," McCarthy said.  

It's been an open question whether the new majority leader would hold weekly sessions with reporters, a tradition that ended under McCarthy's predecessor, Eric Cantor.  

   

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