WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has rejected a bipartisan push for a new war authorization for military forces battling the Islamic State group and other militants.

The U.S. military has been operating under the legal authority that Congress endorsed some 16 years ago after the Sept. 11 attacks. Democratic and Republican presidents have said that authority is sufficient.

But Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky led a bipartisan group in demanding a new authorization.

The vote on Wednesday was 61-36 to scuttle Paul’s amendment that would have let the current authorizations expire after six months, giving Congress time to craft a new one.

Paul says inaction by Congress is letting the White House unilaterally commit the nation to war.

Opponents say his plan would backfire on American troops deployed overseas.

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