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Flake, Kaine Introduce Authorization For Use Of Military Force Against ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Taliban

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) today introduced a bipartisan Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. Flake serves as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Kaine serves as a member of both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee.

Nearly sixteen years after Congress passed the 2001 AUMF, the U.S. fight against those responsible for the September 11th attacks has been expanded to numerous terrorist organizations that did not exist in 2001, such as ISIS.

Flake and Kaine’s bipartisan AUMF explicitly authorizes military action against the three terrorist groups, gives Congress an oversight role it currently lacks over who can be considered to be “associated” with the terrorist groups and in which countries military action can take place, and provides an expedited process for Congress to re-authorize this AUMF in five years. Lastly, it repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.

“Congressional authorization for the use of military force against ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban will make clear to our allies and our adversaries that we are united in our resolve,” said Flake. “When I voted in 2001 to authorize military force against the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks, I had no idea I would be authorizing armed conflict for more than fifteen years, and counting. It is past time for Congress to voice its support for the war against ISIS, something many military officers and diplomats working to defeat ISIS have advocated for, and for Congress to reassert some of the authority it has abdicated over the years. I would like to thank Senator Kaine for his work on this issue and I look forward to working with our colleagues as this AUMF moves through the legislative process.”

“We owe it to the American public to define the scope of the U.S. mission against terrorist organizations, including ISIS, and we owe it to our troops to show we’re behind them in their mission,” said Kaine. “It’s our constitutional duty in Congress to authorize military action, yet we’ve stood silent as Administrations have stretched the 2001 AUMF far beyond its original purpose. We’ve heard repeatedly from our nation’s military leaders that passing an AUMF would send an important signal of support to the troops and that we must continue to dismantle terrorist organizations in a more systematic manner.  Most members of Congress were not yet elected when the debate and vote on the 2001 AUMF took place and it is time for this Congress to fulfill its duty by putting its stamp on the current fight and to reaffirm its commitment to defeating ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.  I’m proud to have Senator Flake as a partner on this issue as we share this AUMF with our colleagues in hopes it presents a bipartisan way forward on this issue.”

Key Components of the bipartisan Flake, Kaine AUMF:

  • Authorizes the use of military force against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS specifically;
  • Establishes a process for Congressional oversight of what persons or forces can be treated as being “associated” with ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban;
  • Establishes a process for Congressional oversight of where fighting against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban can occur beyond Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia;
  • Repeals and replaces the 2001 AUMF against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, and repeals the 2002 AUMF against Iraq;
  • Provides a five-year sunset on the new AUMF and allows for an expedited process to reauthorize the AUMF prior to its expiration; and
  • Requires the President to report to Congress with a strategy to protect the U.S. from ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, and provide subsequent status reports.

Flake and Kaine have been longtime leaders in the Senate on this issue. In 2015, they introduced an AUMF to explicitly authorize military force against ISIS. 

You can view the full text of the AUMF here.