Senate Propose War Authorization for Militants, But Not Any Nations

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 17, 2018

A bipartisan group of senators on the Foreign Relations Committee late Monday unveiled a major rewrite of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which would give President Donald Trump robust new abilities to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups while reserving the ability for Congress to limit the commander in chief's power to carry out the war on terror.

The new AUMF is backed by senators from both parties, including Sens.

"For too long, Congress has given Presidents a blank check to wage war", Kaine said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the legislation. "There have been a number of efforts over the years to update these authorities, and while there is still work ahead, I am pleased that we have reached an agreement on a product for the committee to consider and that I hope will ultimately strike an appropriate balance of ensuring the administration has the flexibility necessary to win this fight while strengthening the rightful and necessary role of Congress. We have a president not a king and the constitution says it's congress that gets to declare war not the president". "We've let the 9/11 and Iraq War authorizations get stretched to justify wars against multiple terrorist groups in over a dozen countries, from Niger to the Philippines", Kaine said. "Our proposal finally repeals those authorizations and makes Congress do its job by weighing in on where, when, and with who we are at war".

Despite the broad bipartisan belief that Congress should update the war authorization, there is widespread doubt that the compromise can pass the GOP-controlled Congress, where many leaders are reluctant to do anything that curbs the ability of the President to carry out the war as he sees fit. Ben Cardin of Maryland, a senior Democrat on the committee.

But it is unlikely to get through the committee review process without considerable debate.

"My first goal is to be able to move something out of committee", he said when asked about the measure's prospects.

· Authorization for Use of Military Force: Authorizes the executive to use all necessary and appropriate force against al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and designated associated forces.

As the 17-year-old War on Terror rages on-and with the worldwide community still reeling from the illegal missile strikes that the USA, U.K., and France launched on Syria over the weekend-Congress is considering a measure that critics warn will expand the executive branch's authority to wage war. If Congress fails to enact new legislation, the existing authorities remain in place.

The new legislation stipulates that the president must notify Congress about any new forces he designates as falling under the auspices of the AUMF within 48 hours of engaging them in hostilities. Such a notification triggers a 60-day period during which legislation to remove the authority to use military force against the new associated force or in the new foreign country will qualify for expedited consideration.

The authorization does not expire, as previous proposals endorsed by Kaine and Flake would have, forcing Congress to reassess its authorization every few years.

Cardin said he had trouble with those two provisions because while they would allow Congress to weigh in, it would be very hard to get enough support to override a probable presidential veto. Senators in favor of restricting the president's war-making authority have expressed particular concern about the lack of a sunset, or expiration, for the legislation.

The new resolution comes just days after Mr. Trump ordered air strikes on Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

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