Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.) said Thursday passing an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would not "change one iota of activities on the ground."
"Let's face it, whatever the AUMF says ... [at least] the way it's been thought about, it's not going to change one iota of activities on the ground," he told reporters.
President Obama submitted draft language for a war authorization bill in mid-February, but that legislation was essentially declared dead on arrival by members of both parties.
Democrats dismissed the administration's draft because it didn't forbid the use of ground combat troops, while Corker acknowledged Republicans worry it's too limited.
"They're worried about if there's really a strategy that will yield a positive outcome in Syria," he said.
But Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinIt's time for Congress to guarantee Medigap Health Insurance for vulnerable Americans with kidney disease Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Democrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos MORE (D-Md.), the committee's top Democrat, said they would try to forge a path forward on the proposal.
"We've already had conversations," Corker said. "They were taking place during the vote today, on the AUMF."
Cardin added that shortly after he "locked in the votes" on legislation allowing lawmakers to review and vote on a final Iran nuclear deal at 1 p.m., he began getting questions about an AUMF.
"It was a little after 1 o'clock this afternoon when we locked in the votes for the Iran bill," he said. "Five minutes later, I started hearing from members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the AUMF. So it is a matter of great interest."
Both lawmakers acknowledged they face an uphill battle at being able to come up with legislation that both Republicans, Democrats and the White House could agree to.
"We will try to find common ground. ... But we have to be realistic," Cardin said. "I don't want to hold out that this can be — that we're optimistic about this. It's a very difficult challenge."
Their remarks follow a push by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), both members of the Foreign Relations Committee, earlier Thursday about the need to pass an AUMF.
Flake said the inability pass an AUMF is "damaging to the effort to defeat ISIL. Frankly, it's also damaging to the credibility and relevance of this institution with regard to the conduct of foreign affairs."
Kaine has been a leading critic on Congress's stalemate over the legislation. The Virginia Democrat said Thursday troops currently serving in the operation against ISIS "have no indication whether Congress cares one iota about this ongoing war."
Kaine, Cardin and Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Chris Coons (Del.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.) met with national security adviser Susan Rice in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the situation in Syria, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The White House National Security Council declined to comment on the meeting.