Senate Opts Against Limiting Trump’s War Powers
Measure to cease most military actions in Yemen shot down

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, here at a rally at the Capitol last year, pushed a resolution to end most U.S. military operations in Yemen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid a whirlwind day of White House news, President Donald Trump on Tuesday retained the expanded war powers he inherited from his post-9/11 predecessors, as the Senate shot down a measure that would have ordered him to cease most U.S. military operations in Yemen.

Trump scored a victory on behalf of the executive branch’s ability to launch and sustain military operations in new countries without first getting authorization from Congress. Amid pressure from Republican leaders, the White House and the Pentagon, the chamber killed a resolution, 55-44, offered by a bipartisan group of senators that would have required Trump to cease all U.S. military action against groups other than al-Qaida in Yemen.

Don’t Expect Military Force Authorization for Syria Soon
Lawmakers want a plan from the president

Kaine said the strikes in Syria were unlawful, and has argued that military force be approved by Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin walked into the closed-door briefing on military strikes in Syria, with a joint resolution in his hand.

“I’m going to see what part of this still applies, and I think a lot of it still does,” the Illinois Democrat said as he entered the secure briefing room in the Capitol on Friday where Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was addressing senators.

House Rejects Call for New War Powers Resolution to Fight ISIS
Lawmakers adopt amendments to prevent transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees

( Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly).

The House on Thursday rejected two amendments to a defense spending measure that would have effectively called on Congress to pass a new war powers resolution.   

The votes show that Congress is no rush to approve a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, despite a longstanding debate about whether Congress should rewrite the 15-year-old war authorization approved after the 9/11 attacks.  

House Set to Debate Gitmo, AUMF in Defense Spending Measure
White House has concerns with the use of war funds

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen characterized the House fiscal 2017 defense spending bill as "highly responsible." (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

The House began debate late Tuesday on the fiscal 2017 defense spending bill, lining up amendment consideration for the $575.8 billion measure on Wednesday under a veto threat from the White House.    

The House Rules Committee made 75 amendments in order for floor consideration of the bill (HR 5293 ), but rejected two dealing with the rights of LGBT people, two days after an LGBT nightclub in Orlando became the setting for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  

Rand Paul Seeks Islamic State Use-of-Force Debate
Wants to get Senate colleagues on record on military force

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul wants to revisit the post-9/11 issue of congressional approval for the use of military force. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Might senators actually have to vote on using military force against the Islamic State?  

They will if Sen. Rand Paul gets his way, as the former presidential candidate from Kentucky confirmed Monday he is pushing to have an amendment called up to declare that the post 9/11 measures authorizing use of military force do not apply to current conflicts.  

Obama, Ryan to Lunch Tuesday at White House

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House expects President Barack Obama and the Republican House and Senate leaders on Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from taxes to criminal justice to national security.  

Obama is scheduled to meet privately with Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later, he and Ryan will have a one-on-one lunch meeting. It will be Obama’s first private meeting with Ryan since the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee became speaker in late October. Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the trio should discuss several matters on which they appear to agree. That list includes a sweeping trade pact Obama’s administration negotiated with Asian countries, battling the heroin epidemic, and authorizing the fight against the Islamic State.  

Senators to Push for ISIS War Debate on State Department Bill (Updated)

Kaine is partnering with Flake to amend the State Department authorization bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:13 p.m. | The efforts to force the Senate into a debate over the use of military force are continuing to grow.  

The bipartisan Senate duo of Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., are making a bid to amend the State Department authorization — scheduled to be considered Tuesday afternoon by the Foreign Relations Committee — with language to authorize the use of force against the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The senators, who both serve on the Foreign Relations panel, plan to offer an amendment to the State Department measure, though the proposal may not be in order.  

Tim Kaine: Obama Needs Congress to OK Iraq Air Strikes

Kaine says the president needs congressional authorization for air strikes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine wants President Barack Obama to seek new approval from Congress for the current bombing campaign in Iraq.  

"I support providing humanitarian relief to Iraqi civilians and measures to protect American personnel, but I am concerned about the timeline and scope of our renewed military efforts in Iraq," the Virginia Democrat said in a statement. "Since the Administration has conceded that the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force is obsolete and should be repealed, it is now up to the Administration to receive Congressional authorization for the current air campaign against IS. This is especially the case since the President has indicated that our renewed military engagement in Iraq could be a long-term project."