Schiff adds to ISIS war authorization proposals

Greg Nash

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is circulating his own draft authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), adding to a growing list of such bills.

“Though there is broad agreement that we need a new AUMF, the question of what could pass the House and Senate and gain the support of the president has proved elusive,” he said in a statement Thursday. “It is time to break the gridlock and for us to accept our responsibility to our men and women in uniform, who have been engaged for more than a year in the fight.”

{mosads}Right now, the military campaign against ISIS is relying on the AUMF passed in 2001 aimed at fighting al Qaeda.

President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to pass a new authorization bill.

“If Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists,” he said Sunday, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

“For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets. I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight.”

Almost a year ago, Obama proposed an AUMF that limited the authorization to three years and specifically prohibited “enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

Those who oppose an AUMF have argued the president needs to present a strategy before they will authorize a war, and expressed concerns over the three-year sunset and restriction on ground troops.

Schiff previously introduced an AUMF in January.

Like Obama’s proposal, the bill Schiff proposed Thursday would sunset after three years. It would also repeal the 2001 AUMF and the 2002 AUMF authorizing the Iraq War to consolidate war powers in one bill. The bill would cover ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and any associated forces.

Schiff’s bill would also allow for ground forces. But the administration would have to notify Congress, and any member of Congress could force a timely debate to repeal or revise the authorization.

The bill’s definition of ground forces would not include “special operations forces or other forces that may be deployed for purposes of training, advisory roles, search and rescue, intelligence gathering, ground support for air operations or limited duration actions against high value targets,” according to the text of the bill.

“I believe that the AUMF I’m proposing and circulating amongst my colleagues can serve as a template to bridge the divide by consolidating and unifying our use of force against ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, repealing all prior authorizations and provided an expedited mechanism to accept or reject any introduction of ground troops in a combat mission,” Schiff said. “If this is a war worth fighting — and I believe it is — Congress must have the courage to authorize it.”

Earlier Thursday, Reps. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced an AUMF as companion legislation to one introduced in the Senate by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Republican presidential candidate, introduced an AUMF last week that has no expiration date and no limit on ground troops.

Tags Adam Schiff Al-Qaeda Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant War on Terror
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