Bipartisan, Bicameral AUMF Introduced

Four members of Congress introduced a bipartisan, bicameral Authorization for Use of Military Force bill this week, just days after President Obama urged the passage of an AUMF “to demonstrate that the American people are united and committed” to the fight against ISIS. “Failure to act is an abdication of our constitutional responsibilities as members of Congress. The House and Senate must come together and vote—up or down—on the engagement of US forces against those who seek to kill us and destroy our American way of life,” said Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), one of the co-sponsors of the bill. “For 17 months, Congress has used every excuse in the book to avoid taking a vote on this war—including that Republicans and Democrats would never be able to reach a compromise on authorization language,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate and has previously advocated for an AUMF. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), another co-sponsor, said Congress “has been absent” since the fight against ISIS began. Co-sponsor Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said the fight against ISIS is “going to be a long, multilateral campaign,” and that the “14-year-old statute passed to authorize military action against a different enemy” is insufficient. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said that while the Pentagon legally does not need a new AUMF, it would show the troops that the country supports them. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced separate AUMF legislation in early December.