House Republicans have made it clear that they would rather support ISIS than give Obama the votes he needs for authorization to arm the Syrian rebels.
House Republicans emerged from a Tuesday morning conference meeting predicting a proposal to arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will pass — but only if Democrats provide significant support.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said he wasn’t sure his amendment granting President Obama’s request for congressional authority would be backed by a majority of Republican lawmakers, many of whom expressed deep reservations about the plan.
And Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member close to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), predicted that Democrats would have to supply a significant number of votes to approve the amendment, since many members on both sides are likely to oppose it.
“It’s going to take a bipartisan coalition to pass it, and I think it’ll be bipartisan opposition,” Cole said.
Republicans demand that the president do something about ISIS. They have criticized the president for not doing enough, but when push comes to shove, they can’t muster enough votes to give the president the authorization that he needs to arm the Syrian rebels. Democrats are skeptical of getting into another war. Those who oppose the measure are doing so from a consistent position.
The Republican opposition is based on petty partisan election year politics. House Republicans have decided that they aren’t going to help President Obama on anything, including national security. It is unimaginable, but Republicans are creating the perception that they are rooting for Obama to fail on national security.
This measure should be a no brainer even in an election year. Republicans can’t spend weeks on television criticizing President Obama for his strategy against ISIS, and then refuse to do their part. If the authorization fails, it will illustrate the hypocrisy behind the Republican strategy of obstruction and gridlock.
If ISIS is a threat to America, don’t expect House Republicans to do anything about it.