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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 CorkerCorker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing GOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Poll: GOP's Blackburn holds slim lead in Tennessee Senate race MORE (R-Tenn.) said Monday senators will unveil a new bill on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing 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: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Democrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms MORE (D-Va.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOn The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference GOP senator: Not 'appropriate' for Mnuchin to go to Saudi conference 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 GrahamGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Five things to know about 'MBS,' Saudi Arabia's crown prince 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.