The so-called “Islamic State,” also known as ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has drawn a lot of attention to itself lately. And when Congress came back to work last week, a number of proposals went into the legislative hopper.
Let’s take a look at the different proposals and who’s behind them.
More than a few members of Congress are ready to send the U.S. military after ISIS, thugs that they are:
H.R. 5415, the Authorization for Use of Military Force against International Terrorism Act, would authorize the use of military force against international terrorism. It’s the product of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and a host of Republican co-sponsors, as well as one Democrat, Rep. David Scott (GA).
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the author of another such bill, H.J. Res. 123, to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He has a longer list of cosponsors, all Republican.
A similar bill in the Senate is S.J. Res. 42, introduced solo by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).
The Republican version, sponsored by Senator James Inhofe (OK)—also on his own—is S.J. Res. 43. It’s purpose is to “authorize the use of force against the organization called the Islamic State in order to defend the American people and assist the Iraqi Government in expelling the Islamic State from their territory.”
There is a more modest approach to going after ISIS.
H.Res. 718 would call on the Department of Defense to “expedite the delivery of all necessary military equipment, weapons, ammunition, and other needed materials to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to successfully combat and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).” This bills is the brainchild of Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), backed by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
You Have to ASK!
There is an argument that the president can go after ISIS on his own or under the Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress passed after 9/11. Those who think he can generally haven’t introduced any bills.
On the other side are those who think that the constitution requires the president to have congressional approval, which would be granted or withheld consistent with the War Powers Act.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) has introduced H. Con. Res. 114, urging Congress to debate and vote on a statutory authorization for any sustained United States combat role in Iraq or Syria. He’s joined by fellow Democrats Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). A debate that didn’t result in authorization, they apparently think, would prevent the president from acting.
Rep. Wolf, meanwhile, doesn’t believe that the War Powers Act is working. He’s introduced H.R. 5416, the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014, which would repeal the War Powers Resolution, providing for “proper” war powers consultation.
Terrorism is Un-American!
Some members of ISIS are allegedly Americans, English-speaking non-Americans, or people from countries whose citizens are freely able to enter the United States under the visa waiver program. Another batch of bills is meant to deal with that little challenge.
H.R. 5406, the F.T.O. Passport Revocation Act, would authorize the revocation or denial of passports and passport cards to individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations. (F.T.O. stands for “foreign terrorist organization,” you see.) Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) is the sponsor, joined by Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).
H.R. 5408, the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, would add certain acts of allegiance to a foreign terrorist organization to the list of acts for which nationals of the United States lose nationality. That’s Rep. Michele Bachmann‘s (R-MN) bill, along with a healthy number of Republican cosponsors.
On the Senate side, Ted Cruz (R-TX) has the same idea. His bill, S. 2779, the Expatriate Terrorists Act, would “deem specified activities in support of terrorism as renunciation of United States nationality.” Back in the House, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) has his own bill, H.R. 5450, the Expatriate Terrorists Act, which would do the same.
H.R. 5434, the Visa Waiver Program Suspension Act of 2014, would suspend the visa waiver program in order for the Comptroller General of the United States to assess the national security risks posed by the program. Nobody wants members of ISIS coming into the United States. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) is the author of this bill.
Let’s. Get. The Bastards.
Sorry for the coarse language. A few members of Congress want to try and reel in the perpetrators of the awful beheadings that have been portrayed in videos released by ISIS.
S. 2778 would require the Secretary of State to offer rewards totaling up to $10,000,000 for information on the kidnapping and murder of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. The author of this bill is Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), along with a bipartisan list of Senate cosponsors.
Then there’s keeping ISIS from getting money…
H.R. 5431, the Isolating ISIS Act, would impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that engage in certain transactions with ISIS. The bill has been put forward by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
THe response notwithstanding, the House and Senate each have a bill that expresses the sorrow that the nation feels for the journalists that ISIS has killed.
S. Res. 538 would express the condolences of the Senate to the families of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and it would “condemn the terrorist acts of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the bill, and a bipartisan list of cosponsors support it, including Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-NJ).
H. Res. 720 would express the condolences of the House of Representatives to the families of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and it would condemn the terrorist acts of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It’s the product of another New Hampshirite, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).
There are Congress’s early reaction to ISIS. What’s yours?