From U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Nine Months Into War, And Still No Congressional Debate On The Use Of Military Force Against ISIL
Last week I spoke on the Senate floor to recognize an anniversary – nine months since the U.S. has been at war against ISIL. As I spoke, I reminded my fellow senators of all that our country has sacrificed since we began this military mission. We have deployed thousands of troops to the region, including the Norfolk-based Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. We have lost the lives of American servicemembers and seen hostages killed in the most gruesome of ways. And we have spent more than two billion in taxpayer funding to launch more than 3,000 airstrikes against the terrorist group.
But here’s what still hasn’t happened: Congress has not done its job to debate and vote on an authorization for this war. This silence is shameful, and our servicemembers deserve better. In places far from their homes and families, thousands of members of our Armed Forces are risking their lives on behalf of a mission that Congress has refused to address for nine long months. Their sacrifice should call us to step up, do our jobs and finally define and authorize this ongoing war.
With passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act last week, the Senate proved it can act in a bipartisan way to assert an appropriate Congressional role on another critical matter of foreign policy - a nuclear deal with Iran. But meanwhile, our inaction on ISIL leaves the impression that Congress is either indifferent about the threat the group poses or lacks the backbone to do the job it is supposed to do.
So I once again challenge my colleagues to take this seriously and to promptly debate and pass an authorization for military action against ISIL.
You can watch my speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate here.
Senator Tim Kaine