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 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 Monday senators will unveil a new bill on President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump 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 KaineDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' Senate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act MORE (D-Va.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report 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 GrahamSenators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Tim Scott takes in .3 million in third quarter 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.