Bipartisan Senate duo offer new war powers bill for ISIS fight

Bipartisan Senate duo offer new war powers bill for ISIS fight
© Getty Images

Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineMenendez jabs State official over Colombian group's terror designation Democrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos Senate advances defense bill after delay MORE (D-Va.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeRubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees Senate confirms Thomas Nides as US ambassador to Israel Flake, Cindy McCain among latest Biden ambassadors confirmed after delay MORE (R-Ariz.) introduced a measure on Monday that would authorize military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

The measure, offered as an amendment to a State Department policy bill being considered this week, comes 10 months after the U.S. began its military campaign against the terrorist group in Iraq. 

The two senators are hoping to revive the largely stalled discussion on the authorization, which has been hampered by partisan disagreement.  

ADVERTISEMENT

The White House sent over draft language for an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) in February, but Republicans said it was too restrictive, and Democrats said it was not restrictive enough. 

The White House's measure would limit authorization to three years and repeal the 2002 AUMF for the Iraq War. It would leave in place the 2001 AUMF that's being used against ISIS and ban the loosely defined "enduring offensive ground combat operations." 

Kaine and Flake said they hoped their measure, which would sunset in three years and repeal the 2002 AUMF, would be a "starting point for debate." 

The Kaine-Flake measure has a clause making the AUMF the sole statutory authority for U.S. military action against ISIS. It would also specify that the "use of significant U.S. ground troops in combat" — except to protect U.S. citizens from imminent threat — would be inconsistent with the use of force. 

“It’s inexcusable that Congress has let 10 months of war go by without authorizing the U.S. mission against ISIL,” said Kaine, who has been a leading voice calling for an authorization of force against ISIS. 

"Our military has been waging war against ISIL since last September, and Congress has been appropriating funds to pay for those operations. It's past time for Congress to formally voice its support of the mission itself,” added Flake.