Over the weekend, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) continued to press the case that President Obama should introduce a resolution asking for authorization of his military action against ISIS, but he also said he agrees that the President already has the authority to take military action against ISIS. At Tuesday’s White House briefing, I asked Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the administration’s claim of authority to strike ISIS, but he took the opportunity to strike Boehner, instead.
The White House has consistently claimed authority, under a variety of rationales, to strike ISIS both in Iraq and Syria, but has also said it “welcomes” any show of “support” from Congress. I asked Earnest of the White House’s refusal to put forth its own resolution stems from the idea that asking for authority you already have would, itself, undercut that claim of authority. He answered in the negative, eventually, but he also made a really good point after my followup (pardon the White House camera’s unnervingly long shot of me listening to Earnest):
“There is one other aspect of this that struck me as slightly ironic, which is the president has put forward a very specific proposal for reforming our broken immigration system, a proposal that has bipartisan support in the Senate, and passed the Senate. It’s now sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives, and Speaker Boehner is the individual who is refusing to allow it to come up for a vote.”
He went on to mention inversions and infrastructure, as well, but it’s the immigration bill that really stands out. It is more than a little bit ironic that this law that Boehner refuses to allow a vote on was also the subject of promised unilateral action by President Obama under a rather ordinary claim of authority, over which Republicans threatened to impeach him. The irony that Republicans have made Obama into the king they’ve always accused him of being is Chris Christie thick and Romney rich.
But the dual irony is that while conservatives panic over ISIS flooding over our borders with “Koran books,” the bill they are blocking has everything short of a Death Star in it for border security. If they won’t reform immigration for terr’ism, they won’t do it for anything.