Kaine: War powers measure isn’t dead in the Senate

Kaine: War powers measure isn’t dead in the Senate
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Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineA lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair Warren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup MORE (D-Va.) says his colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee haven’t given up on passing a resolution authorizing the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“Oh, no. Not at all,” Kaine told reporters Wednesday when asked whether he agreed with recent remarks by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that President Obama’s request was essentially dead on Capitol Hill.

Kaine said he had heard about McCarthy’s comments, but shrugged them off.

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“I’ve always assumed if it was going to happen, it was going to happen in the Senate and then go to the House,” he said, adding he had received commitments from Foreign Relations chairman Bob Coker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the panel’s new top Democrat, that they would “take this very seriously.”

The president sent a draft of his AUMF resolution to Congress in mid-February, but it was soon picked apart by members of both parties. Republicans complained the language restricting "enduring offensive ground combat operations" could tie the hands of military commanders, while liberals argued the same text could lead to another open-ended U.S. ground presence in the Middle East.

Kaine, who had been critical of his colleagues for months last year for not voting on an AUMF and has proposed an authorization of his own, said the Foreign Relations panel has “definitely been working” on a war power resolution while shepherding through a bill that gives Congress a say on a nuclear deal with Iran.

“We’re trading ideas to try to find a formulation of the mission close to what the president proposed that would engender bipartisan support. We think that that’s really important,” he said, adding the panel members are meeting today with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“It’s hard to do two thing so high-burn at once,” Kaine said, but because of the “time pressure” with the Iran measure, “we felt like we’ll do that, then move to this.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said he hasn’t changed his mind on not supporting Obama’s draft resolution, saying it’s “too restrictive” when it comes to ground troops.

“At the end of the day, I’m open-minded to giving [the president] an AUMF that says do what you need to to defeat ISIL. Period,” according to Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

”It’s just a mess, the way it’s written,” he added.