House Speaker John Boehner doesn't want war debate until next year

Boehner: Obama's plan may not be enough
Boehner: Obama's plan may not be enough

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Boehner: Obama's plan may not be enough 01:05

Story highlights

  • Debate in Congress over war authorization likely wouldn't happen until next year
  • That's according to House Speaker John Boehner
  • Having the debate in a lame-duck session would be inefficient, Boehner believes
Even as the war against ISIS expands, House Speaker John Boehner said he doesn't believe Congress should debate any new authorization for the military operation until next year.
In an interview with the New York Times, Boehner said he didn't believe holding a vote in November during the so-called lame-duck session of Congress was appropriate because there is "a whole group of members who are on their way out the door."
Boehner delivered that same message to House Republicans in closed-door meetings before the House wrapped up its brief fall session last week, according to a top Boehner aide.
"He believes that having such a consequential debate with members who are either retiring or lost is not the right way to go about it," Kevin Smith, Boehner's communications director, told CNN. The speaker has emphasized on multiple occasions that he doesn't believe lame-duck sessions are the right time to tackle major policy debates such as immigration or tax reform.
But both Republicans and Democrats have argued that the legal justification that the Obama administration cites to launch action against ISIS -- a 2001 measure passed by Congress to fight al Qaeda and the 2002 Iraq war authorization -- doesn't cover the current military action against this terror group.
Some members, including Republicans, want Boehner to call the House back into session before the mid-term election to vote on a new authorization.
Florida GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told MSNBC Thursday that it's time for Congress to return to Washington and take up new legislation focused on the fight against ISIS. "We are shirking our responsibility by not voting on this," she said.
But Boehner, who is on a campaign swing for GOP candidates in New England this week, made it clear he has no plans to do so.
The House speaker did tell the Times -- as he said before Congress left for the final stretch before the November mid-term elections -- that he believes it's important for Congress to "speak" on the issue. But he insisted it's up to the White House to draft and send new language to Capitol Hill.
"I would suggest to you that early next year, assuming that we continue in this effort, there may be that discussion and there may be that request from the President," Boehner said.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who could become majority leader if Republicans win control of the Senate in November, didn't have a comment about Boehner's remarks. But his spokesman Don Stewart told CNN that McConnell "has said multiple times that the President should present us with a plan and we can vote on that and if it's a good plan it will have bipartisan support."