Senators Baldwin and Schatz Call on President Obama to Submit a Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) Specific to ISIL

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are calling on President Obama to immediately submit for Congressional consideration a proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) specific to the war against ISIL.

In a letter sent to the President today, Baldwin and Schatz write, “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) threatens U.S. national interests, representing a direct threat to American personnel in Iraq and to the stability of Iraq, Syria, and the region.  While we must take action to combat the threat posed by ISIL, we do not believe that you possess sufficient authority to undertake the current U.S. military campaign against ISIL.  In addition, we are extremely concerned that the current operation lacks measurable goals, benchmarks of success and a clear scope.  Therefore, we are writing to request that you immediately submit for Congressional consideration a proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) specific to the war against ISIL.”

Baldwin and Schatz said that they believe this action will allow Congress to properly evaluate the President’s vision and strategy for combat operations and will foster the critical debate that the American public deserves.

The Senators noted that the President last submitted a draft AUMF in 2013 when he sought authority to launch airstrikes in connection with the conflict in Syria which provoked an important debate in Congress and gave the American people the opportunity to voice their concerns.

In the letter to President Obama, the Senators stated that the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs do not apply to the current situation and expressed concerns that “Taking military action without an AUMF tailored to ISIL puts the United States at risk of repeating the mistakes of the past and becoming bogged down in an open-ended conflict.”

“ISIL is a group of barbaric terrorists, and their extreme tactics, like the abhorrent and tragic beheadings of innocent Americans, display a shocking brutality that must be confronted.  That is why we do support you using American leadership to help build an international coalition that both provides military assistance to confront this terrorist threat and helps build an inclusive and unified Iraqi government that has the capacity to be a strong partner in counterterrorism efforts against this terrorist group,” Baldwin and Schatz said, “However, U.S. military operations must be authorized by Congress.  We are hopeful that we can work together to uphold our responsibility to the American people and have a more serious debate about America’s military operations against ISIL.”

The full letter from Baldwin and Schatz to President Obama can be found online here.