While he didn’t announce any new policies last night, President Obama did outline his wish list for Congress. Just one item -- the visa waiver overhaul – is likely to see action on Capitol Hill.
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Here’s a look at where things stand:
REQUEST: “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.”
Senate Democrats put forward a bill last week to ban those on the no-fly list from purchasing guns. It failed 45-54.
REQUEST: “We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons.”
Congress last tried to renew the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, in April 2013. It failed 40-60. A separate vote last week to impose background checks on gun purchasers at gun shows and online also failed.
REQUEST: “If Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists.”
The White House sent legislation to Congress last February -- six months after it started bombing ISIS targets. The request has since been gathering cobwebs on The Hill. While the president is calling for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), his administration also argues that the 2001 AUMF which granted authority to fight al Qaeda also covers the fight against ISIS.
REQUEST: “We should put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa so that we can take a hard look at whether they’ve traveled to warzones.”
Congress has already been at work at this wish-list item for several weeks. The House is expected to vote tomorrow on its own visa waiver bill that would prevent people who have recently traveled to terrorist hotspots from taking advantage of the waiver program. The bill is expected to come up under a fast-track procedure requiring a two-thirds majority to pass and is likely to hit that mark given its bipartisan support. The Senate also put forward its own bipartisan bill.