Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to dash any hope that Congress would formally authorize President Obama to wage war against ISIS.
His remarks came as McConnell’s House counterpart, Speaker Paul Ryan, is examining the feasibility of passing such an authorization this year. During an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” McConnell said he couldn’t imagine voting for any authorization to use military force that the president would actually sign because he believes the war authorization President Obama wants would, in McConnell’s words, “tie the hands of the next president.”
“I think an AUMF, an authorization to use military force, that ties the president's hands behind his back is not something I would want to do to a new president who's going to have to clean up this mess,” he said.
McConnell also discussed the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday, saying he hopes to hear Obama announce a new strategy for defeating ISIS.
“The president is going, I assume, to talk about the future and try to paint a rosy picture where one does not exist," he said. "What we'd love to hear from the president is a real plan to defeat ISIL.”
In discussing the presidential race, McConnell refused to say whether the Senate would pass a resolution declaring that Sen. Ted Cruz is a natural-born American citizen, given questions that have arisen about his eligibility to run for president because he was born in Canada to an American mother.
“I don't think the Senate ought to get in the middle of it,” McConnell said, even though the Senatein 2008 passed a resolution declaring then-GOP presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain eligible to run for president after questions came up because he was actually born at an American naval station in the Panama Canal Zone.