"For more than seven months, I have been making the case that Congress has a key role to play in authorizing U.S. military action against ISIL under the guiding principle that we should not be asking servicemembers to risk their lives without doing the hard work to reach a political consensus that the mission is in our national interest. Even though U.S.-led airstrikes against the brutal terrorist group have been underway since last August, Congress has yet to give its approval for this mission – a mission that goes well beyond the intent of existing authorizations of force from 2001 and 2002.
That’s why I’m pleased that President Obama has decided to seek Congressional authorization and, earlier this month, took the important step of submitting a written proposal to Congress. Now we can have a proper debate and the full House and Senate can finally vote on authorizing our fight against ISIL.
While the President’s draft Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) reflects consultations I’ve had with administration officials and includes many provisions I support – such as the repeal of an obsolete, yet still existing Iraq authorization from 2002, and a sunset clause that would require Congress to reassess the mission after three years – I am concerned about the breadth and vagueness of language regarding U.S. ground troops. As we prepare to take up the draft in the Foreign Relations Committee, I look forward to a robust debate, along with amendments and votes, and will seek to clarify this important language to ensure the U.S. is vigorously assisting nations willing to battle their own terrorist threats rather than carrying the unsustainable burden of policing a region that won't police itself."