Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's last-minute push to have a routine and "obscure" water bill include an authorization declaring war on the Islamic State (ISIS) sparked a clash between the strict constitutionalist and some of his establishment colleagues, particularly Arizona Sen. John McCain, according to the National Journal
"It was the most bizarre meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee that I have ever attended in my life or ever expected to attend," McCain said. "A water bill, a nice little water bill, uncontroversial.
"It was ludicrous," he said. "It's a living, breathing argument against lame-duck sessions."
Paul's plan, according to The Washington Times
, was to introduce the amendment authorizing use of military force against the Islamic State during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting. He did this to push senators to take a stand on America's battle with the terror group as well as the politicians' "own duty to be responsible for declaring wars," the Times said.
After much discussion, Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and ranking GOP member Bob Corker of Tennessee, agreed to hold a stand-alone vote next week, apart from the water bill.
Paul, considered a likely contender for the GOP nomination in 2016, told Politico
that he just wants "a hearing and a vote — that's what I've always wanted."
The lame duck-session of Congress comes to a close at the end of next week. The hearing on the Authorization of Military Force, or AUMF, will be on Monday — at which Secretary of State John Kerry may provide testimony — with a vote to take place later in the week.
"I hope people are somewhat shamed, as well as the president should be shamed, into doing the right thing," Paul said.
Some senior members of the GOP conference don't have high hopes for its passage under such expedited terms.
"I still think it's going to be too rushed," Corker said.
McCain was a bit more direct.
"There's not a snowball's chance in Gila Bend, Arizona, I promise you, to get an AUMF in this session of Congress," he said, predicting that next week's hearing will be "as funny as a 'Saturday Night Live' skit."
McCain said the onus has always been on the president to draft an AUMF strategy and then send it to Congress.
Paul and Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, argue that Congress should "reassert its policy-setting role on overseas conflicts," according to the National Journal.
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