Graham pushes Obama to back broad ISIS war bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February MORE wants President Obama to back wide-reaching legislation authorizing the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

The South Carolina Republican, who is running for president, sent a letter to Obama Tuesday saying that he should work with Congress to "immediately" pass Graham's legislation, which he introduced last week. 

"Unlike some other proposals, my Joint Resolution does not place artificial constraints on you, and your successors, as the commander-in-chief," he wrote.


"Placing artificial limitations on the authorization would be seen as a sign of weakness by ISIL and a lack of resolve by our allies," he added using an alternate name for the group.

Graham's proposal has no limits on using ground troops against the terrorist organization — a provision that will likely gain quick pushback from Democrats — as well as no expiration date. 

He also underscored that his legislation would be as broad as the 2001 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), which has received skepticism from Democrats. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) previously introduced a measure that would sunset the 2001 law. 

Graham, however, said that lawmakers must send a message to ISIS that "we will hunt you down and kill you no matter how long it takes. You are not safe anywhere."

While Obama called for lawmakers to pass an AUMF against ISIS during a speech Sunday, proposals from Graham and other lawmakers face an uphill battle with momentum stalled in Congress. 

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz over Capitol attack 'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics MORE (D-Va.), a key advocate of an AUMF, suggested that while he was glad to hear the administration call for legislation, it likely wouldn't get the issue across the finish line. 

"I think we're going to get there, but I think we're sadly going to get there because the mutating nature of the threats is going to shame Congress into action," he told reporters on Tuesday.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader Biden faces tall order in uniting polarized nation Senators vet Mayorkas to take lead at DHS MORE (D-Nev.) have appeared cool to the idea of taking up a war authorization bill. Meanwhile, Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Former GOP senator: Republicans cannot let Trump's 'reckless' post-election claims stand Cornyn: Relationships with Trump like 'women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinRomney calls for Senate to pass sanctions on Putin over Navalny poisoning Senate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster Georgia keeps Senate agenda in limbo MORE (D-Md.), the top members of the Foreign Relations Committee, have repeatedly acknowledged that an AUMF faces deep political and policy divisions. 

Graham said last week that he hadn't spoken to Corker about his war legislation. 

"I respect Bob Corker. It should go through his committee. I hope he'll take it up. I've got nothing against the normal process," he added. "I just want this debate."