What does Obama want Congress to do about ISIS and terrorism?

In his speech to the nation about the terror threat Sunday evening, the president had some ideas about what lawmakers could do to help keep the country safer.

But while those measures might help the U.S. prevent some attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate says they still miss the big picture.

"There's a need in this town to try to do something in the wake of an attack, and to pass laws and to fix programs. And that's important," Zarate said. "But what's interesting about these proposals is that in and of themselves or even together they don't deal with the broad problem of a growing terrorist movement globally that has now been able to inspire an attack in Southern California."

And there remains the fundamental question, how do you defeat ISIS? While what the president proposed included "really important things," Zarate said "they still seem to lack the material relevance to deal with what is a growing and urgent threat."

Here's what Mr. Obama asked of Congress and where those issues stand.

No guns for those on the no-fly list

President Obama: "Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security."

On the day after the San Bernardino shootings, Senate Democrats put forward a bill to ban those on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, but it failed on a 45-54 vote that mostly broke down along party lines (Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, voted with Democrats who supported the legislation while Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, voted with Republicans against it).

In a statement blasting lobbyists for the gun industry, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California - one of the bill's authors - said, "If you're too dangerous to board a plane, you're too dangerous to buy a gun."

A Republican alternative came from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who proposed that the attorney general be able to delay a purchase by someone on the terror watch list for a maximum of 72 hours unless they were able to get a court to agree to stop the purchase entirely. That, he said, would protect the Second Amendment rights of those seeking to purchase guns. But that measure also failed on a vote 55 to 44 because there was a 60-vote threshold on the measure.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, R-Florida, explained his opposition this way on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday: "These are everyday Americans that have nothing to do with terrorism, they wind up on the no-fly list, there's no due process or any way to get your name removed from it in a timely fashion, and now they're having their Second Amendment rights being impeded upon."

A 2010 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that individuals on the terrorist watch list were allowed to purchase firearms or explosives in 91 percent of purchases that involved background checks.

Assault weapons ban

President Obama: "We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino. I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures. But the fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies -- no matter how effective they are -- cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology. What we can do -- and must do -- is make it harder for them to kill."

What's happening in Congress: An assault weapons ban has been a non-starter in Congress for years. A 1994 law banning weapons like AK-47s expired in 2004, and efforts to renew it - including one in 2013 after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut - have all failed.

Stronger screening for those entering the U.S.

President Obama: "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 war zones. And we're working with members of both parties in Congress to do exactly that."

What's happening in Congress: After the Paris attacks last month, Republican leaders rolled out legislation aimed at strengthening a program that allows people from 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without first obtaining a visa, and this is one of the few items on the president's list that might actually attract bipartisan support.

The bill would deny visa waiver status to citizens of partner countries who have traveled to terrorist hotspots like Iraq and Syria in the last five years. If any of the 38 countries fail to share counterterrorism information with the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security would be required to terminate that country from the program.

All 38 countries would be required to issue their citizens new fraud-resistant "e-passports" with additional information like fingerprints. All partner countries would also have to submit lost or stolen passport information to INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization. The bill would also require all 38 countries to check travelers against INTERPOL databases to determine whether they have ever been wanted by law enforcement for terrorist or criminal activity.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement after the president's speech that the House will vote this week on the bill.

Pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)

President Obama: "Finally, 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. For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets. I think it's time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight."

In Congress: An AUMF never seemed like a top priority for the president or Congress. The White House didn't even send the legislation to Congress until February, six months after it started bombing ISIS targets in Iraq. There has been widespread agreement that the 2001 AUMF granting the White House the authority to fight al Qaeda also covers the fight against ISIS.

In May of 2015 then-House Speaker John Boehner said the president should tear up the current legislation and try again.Republicans and Democrats have not been able to agree on the scope of the AUMF.

But in recent weeks the issue has gotten new life. In November, a bipartisan group of 35 lawmakers called on Ryan to develop a new war authorization after the Obama administration announced it was sending special operations forces into Syria.

"Taken all together, these represent a significant escalation in U.S. military operations in the region and place U.S. military personnel on the front lines of combat operations," the lawmakers said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.