Harry Reid calls for ISIS 'czar'

Will any of Obama's ISIS proposals succeed?
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    Will any of Obama's ISIS proposals succeed?


Will any of Obama's ISIS proposals succeed? 01:22

Story highlights

  • A Democratic plan would create an "ISIS czar" -- a federal employee who is "fully empowered to unify the federal government's efforts in fighting ISIS," Minority Leader Harry Reid said

Washington (CNN)A day after President Barack Obama's Oval Office address to the nation about the efforts he's leading to defeat ISIS, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced a new Democratic bill meant to "take the fight to ISIS while enhancing the protection of Americans here at home."

The bill includes creation of an "ISIS czar" -- a federal employee who is "fully empowered to unify the federal government's efforts in fighting ISIS," Reid said on the Senate floor. "We did it with Ebola. We certainly can do it with this scourge that is facing this country, ISIS."
In fact, a week ago, the White House announced a similar position when Robert Malley was named by the White House to spearhead all maters ISIS.
    The bill, which top Democratic aides said was in the work long before Obama's speech last night, calls for the targeted airstrikes against ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria and increased support for local fighters. Reid said Democrats agree with Obama's desire to limit U.S. forces on the ground.
    "We do not believe we should put hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground in the middle of another civil war in the Middle East," he said.
    The bill would impose sanctions on people who use the U.S. financial system to "knowingly facilitate financial transactions with ISIS," and would "improve intelligence sharing between the U.S. and its allies in the fight against ISIS," he added.
    It would provide technical assistance to European nations to screen migrants from war-torn parts of the Middle East that have flooded that continent and would create a new "stabilization fund" for Jordan and Lebanon, countries that have opened their borders to many of those refugees.
    The measure would also prevent people on the terrorists "no-fly" list from being able to buy a gun, legislation Republicans blocked when it was voted on last week. It would also "strengthen the visa waiver program so ISIS fighters can't access the program and travel to our country," Reid said.
    One item not on the list was a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force -- essentially a declaration of war against ISIS passed by Congress, something Obama called on Congress to vote on in his speech Sunday night.
    The ISIS legislation, which has not been released formally, also addresses airport security by requiring new "vetting" for aviation workers and hopes to prevent a "dirty bomb" attack by requiring a new plan for universities and hospitals to lock down radiological materials.
    It also would provide grant money to local police to train for active shooter situations, like the one last week in San Bernardino, California, where two people, who investigators believe were inspired by ISIS, killed 14 and wounded many more in shooting spree.
    Republicans were non-plussed by the legislation, calling it a rehash of old ideas packaged together. It's unclear if Democrats, who are in the minority, will be able to get votes on the legislation although just by introducing it, they will argue they are taking concrete steps to address the growing threat.