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Corker: Senate to unveil new war powers bill on Thursday

Corker: Senate to unveil new war powers bill on Thursday
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 It's time for Biden's Cuba MORE (R-Tenn.) said Monday senators will unveil a new bill on President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Romney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE's war powers this week as lawmakers try to revive a long-stalled debate.

"We'll release a copy of it on Thursday," Corker told reporters when asked about the status of the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF). 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman was mum on the specifics of the forthcoming bill, noting he still has final meetings pending with other senators to lock down the language. 

"I mean, we're in the same place we've been. We're working on the same principles we always have and are engaged with the administration and senators and, you know, I hope that in the committee we'll be successful," he said. 

Asked about his priorities while negotiating the war legislation, Corker signaled he was trying to "balance" the need for congressional oversight without tying the hands of the Trump administration.

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"Making sure the administration has the freedoms that are necessary to be successful but at the same time to ensure that Congress has an ongoing role, so I think it's a really good balance the way it is," he said. 

The legislation will mark the latest attempt by Congress to sunset the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, which authorized the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively. 

Corker noted the forthcoming legislation would only deal with terrorist organizations and not extend to using military force against the Syrian government. 

The Trump administration is currently weighing how to respond to an alleged chemical attack that killed at least 70 people in a town controlled by opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But GOP senators are quick to say that a "surgical" response, like the airstrike the Trump administration launched last year in response to a similar attack, would not require congressional approval. 

The forthcoming war bill comes as the Foreign Relations Committee is expected to mark up the legislation later this month. 

But senators must tackle engrained policy and political divisions if they want to ultimately get a new war authorization through the chamber. 

Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers | Diversity chief at Special Operations Command reassigned during probe into social media posts Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers House panel advances bill to repeal 2002 war authorization MORE (D-Va.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' MORE (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation last year that would authorize force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al Qaeda and the Taliban but require congressional oversight if the Trump administration wanted to expand the fight against the groups outside a set list of countries. 

But some Republicans have bristled at putting limitations on any administration's war powers. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (R-S.C.) introduced legislation in 2015 that would not include geographic limits for fighting ISIS and wouldn't prohibit the administration from using ground troops against the terrorist group.