Pelosi Says Debate, Vote Should Be Held on Military Authorization (Video)

Pelosi said Congress should have stayed in town to vote on an Authorization for Use of Military Force. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reiterated her enthusiasm at a Wednesday morning news conference for Congress to debate and ultimately vote on an Authorization for Use of Military Force to further combat the Islamic State terrorist group.  

"Congress has a role in defining how our country degrades and defeats ISIS," Pelosi said, referring to the insurgent terrorist organization that's also known as ISIL.  

She said that there have been "conversations among members informally about what form an authorization should take that will secure our national security interests as well [one that] could pass in both houses of Congress.  

"These conversations should be moved from the informal to the official," she said.

Pelosi said it's important Congress be ready to debate and vote on a formal AUMF measure when members return in November. It is a debate and vote they should be preparing for now, she said, but also one that Congress should have stayed in Washington for, rather than going home for seven weeks to campaign for the November midterms.  

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has said that he doesn't think an AUMF vote should take place in the lame-duck session, and that he would only call Congress back to Washington if President Barack Obama proposed specific AUMF language.  

Pelosi agreed that the president has the authority to direct current actions against the Islamic State militants, but added that the responsibility lies with Congress to draft an authorization outlining what limits — if any — should be placed on Obama's options.  

"I disagree with the speaker, who says we have to wait for the president to send us an authorization so we can vote on it," Pelosi said. "Should there come a time that the president goes further, then it will require an authorization from Congress. You don't wait for the president to write it. Congress writes it."  


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