Bruce Braley (D CAND, Iowa-SEN)... did *not* vote to authorize air strikes against ISIS.

I don’t care what he says here: Bruce Braley did not make the vote that he says that he made.


As in “I recently had the opportunity to vote to give the President limited authority to begin strikes against terrorists in Iraq and Syria.”  Except… that there hasn’t been a vote.  The President simply up and did it, because he says that the 2002 AUMF covers his actions with regard to Syria and Iraq.

Less than two months after President Barack Obama’s administration called for repeal of the Congressional authorization for the 2002 Iraq war, he is formally citing the 12-year-old measure as a basis for newly expanded airstrikes against the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant.

…Now, I happen to agree with the President on this, but I’m not going to pretend that there’s some kind of new Congressional authorization that covers this.  Why did Bruce Braley?  – Because what Bruce Braley DID vote for was something considerably less bomb-related:

An unusual but overwhelming coalition in the House voted Wednesday to authorize the training and arming of Syrian rebels to confront the militant Islamic State, backing President Obama after he personally pleaded for support.

The 273-to-156 vote was over a narrow military measure with no money attached, but it took on outsize importance and was infused with drama, reflecting the tension and ambiguity of members wary of the ultimate path to which any war vote could lead.

Bolding mine.  Now, again: I’m all for arming and training people to go shoot at my enemies (although I retain a lively skepticism about whether we’re going to arm and train people who won’t then turn around and shoot at us). But there’s a small problem here: that vote is not, in any meaningful way, equivalent to a vote by Congress to authorize the President to start blowing up terrorists in Syria.  And if you don’t believe me, well, here’s the language in question:


Nothing in this section shall be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.

As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi noted in the NYT article, that clause was a necessary prerequisite for her voting for the thing. Which is, of course, more than a little ridiculous: but so is the idea that a bill authorizing limited training of rebels can be morphed into a bill authorizing ‘the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities,’ which most certainly includes ‘the USAF bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria.’ And, no, it doesn’t matter how badly Bruce Braley wants to be the next Senator from Iowa: if he is going to cast votes in Congress, he can do us all the elementary courtesy of paying attention to what he’s voting for.

Moe Lane (crosspost)


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