The White House's proposal for authorization to fight the Islamic State landed on Capitol Hill in mid-February with a thud—and little apparent chance for passage. One month later, its prospects look even worse.
The problem: The Obama administration believes it already has the authority it needs to carry out its mission, and absent any sense of urgency in Washington, there's scant political pressure to build a coalition for a tough war vote. On the Senate side, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has warned that the administration's proposal is already in trouble, with little buy-in from Democrats. And while liberals are leery of any vote that would put them on the record for another war, conservative hawks have criticized the AUMF for being overly restrictive.
The outlook isn't much better in the House. "The president's saying he's already got the authority, and they're already taking action," said a Democratic staffer on the House Armed Services Committee. "The things that would normally force people to come to 218 just aren't there."
The White House is currently relying on the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, one drafted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and only came to Congress with a new authorization request after months of pressure from Capitol Hill. For some in Congress, the proposal doesn't represent a serious effort to earn lawmakers' backing.