House Democrat Calls Congress ‘The Poster Child for Cowardice” on ISIS

House Democrat Calls Congress ‘The Poster Child for Cowardice” on ISIS

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul
© STRINGER Iraq / Reuters
By Eric Pianin

Amid growing signs that the U.S. faces nothing but bad choices in its war against ISIS, Rep. Jim McGovern, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, today denounced Congress as “the poster child for cowardice” for refusing to debate a new war powers resolution to set parameters for the Obama administration’s efforts to “degrade and defeat” the jihadist terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

At the behest of Republican and Democratic leaders, Obama sent a proposed war powers resolution to Congress in February outlining his core objectives of systematically destroying the jihadist terror group through a sustained campaign of airstrikes, supporting and training allied forces on the ground and humanitarian assistance – but without committing a large number of U.S. combat troops to the effort.

Related: U.S. Shoots Itself in the Foot By Accidentally Arming ISIS 

The administration proposal would give the military “flexibility” to confront unforeseen circumstances, potentially by deploying Special Forces in the region. But it would limit the mission to three years and would not authorize “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” 

But rather than roll up their sleeves and debate and vote on the president’s request for new military authorization, Republican leaders have effectively shelved the issue and moved on to other things, such as rewriting the rules for NSA spying on Americans’ phone calls and providing Obama with fast track authority to negotiate a new trade pact with Asian countries.

With many conservative Republicans including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina complaining that the president’s strategy for defeating ISIS woefully inadequate and some Democrats worried that it goes too far in committing U.S. troops and resources to a no-win situation in the Middle East, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) said recently he had no incentive to take up the issue in his committee.

Related: Why Congress Should Simply Bag the War Powers Debate

Frankly speaking, this is unacceptable,” McGovern, a member of the House Rules Committee,  said on the House floor today, adding that if the Congress “doesn’t have the stomach” to authorize the war it should vote to bring U.S. forces home, according to Politico. McGovern introduced a bipartisan resolution that would require full debate within 15 days on whether U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq and Syria. His bipartisan resolution is co-sponsored by Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

“This House appears to have no problem sending our uniformed men and women into harm’s way,” McGovern said in prepared remarks. “It appears to have no problem spending billions of dollars for the arms, equipment and airpower to carry out these wars. But it just can’t bring itself to step up to the plate and take responsibility for these wars.”

Increasing Number of Americans Delay Medical Care Due to Cost: Gallup

iStockphoto
By The Fiscal Times Staff

From Gallup: “A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup's trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”

Number of the Day: $213 Million

A security camera hangs near a corner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington
Jonathan Ernst
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much the private debt collection program at the IRS collected in the 2019 fiscal year. In the black for the second year in a row, the program cleared nearly $148 million after commissions and administrative costs.

The controversial program, which empowers private firms to go after delinquent taxpayers, began in 2004 and ran for five years before the IRS ended it following a review. It was restarted in 2015 and ran at a loss for the next two years.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who played a central role in establishing the program, said Monday that the net proceeds are currently being used to hire 200 special compliance personnel at the IRS.

US Deficit Up 12% to $342 Billion for First Two Months of Fiscal 2020: CBO

District of Columbia
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The federal budget deficit for October and November was $342 billion, up $36 billion or 12% from the same period last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday. Revenues were up 3% while outlays rose by 6%, CBO said.

Hospitals Sue to Protect Secret Prices

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times
By The Fiscal Times Staff

As expected, groups representing hospitals sued the Trump administration Wednesday to stop a new regulation would require them to make public the prices for services they negotiate with insurers. Claiming the rule “is unlawful, several times over,” the industry groups, which include the American Hospital Association, say the rule violates their First Amendment rights, among other issues.

"The burden of compliance with the rule is enormous, and way out of line with any projected benefits associated with the rule," the suit says. In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said that hospitals “should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost of a service before they purchase it.”

See the lawsuit here, or read more at The New York Times.