Rep. Ted Lieu becomes first Democrat to oppose Obama's ISIS request

February 11, 2015
In The News

Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.) on Wednesday said he will not support President Obama’s request for the use of force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), becoming the first Democrat to formally come out against the proposal.

Lieu, a former Air Force officer, said he cannot back the ISIS request at this time because Obama has not proved that the group “represents a direct, grave threat to our nation.”

“President Obama has shown consistent thoughtfulness and care in dealing with national security challenges as our commander in chief. However, as currently drafted, I cannot support the administration’s proposed authorization for the use of force against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Lieu said in a statement, using an alternate name for the group.

“ISIL’s actions are repugnant and should be confronted.  At present, however, I do not believe the administration has made the case that ISIL represents a direct, grave threat to our nation. I look forward to continuing this discussion with the administration and my colleagues in Congress.”

Lieu was elected to his first term in Congress last year, taking the seat left open by former Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

The White House’s request for an authorization for the use of military force is facing skepticism on both sides of the aisle. While Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) slammed the bill for being too narrow, some Democrats have cautioned that the language of the resolution, which bans the use of “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” is too vague to prevent an expansive war.

In a letter sent to Congress along with the language, Obama said that, “if left unchecked,” ISIS will become a threat “to the United States homeland.”

Intelligence officials have said that the group doesn’t possess the direct capability to hit the United States but have warned the group’s propaganda push could inspire “lone wolf” attacks.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) used that rationale on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday to assert that ISIS is a direct threat to the homeland. He added concerns about foreign fighters with European passports potentially traveling to the United States.