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Kaine: Expanding U.S. Role in Fight against ISIL Demands Congressional Debate and Vote on AUMF

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, released the following statement after a series of hearings this week on the U.S. role in the Middle East with Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Carter and other administration officials:

“Every official I heard from this week agrees with the likelihood that, as the ISIL threat continues to grow across the region and expand into North Africa and South Asia, so will the U.S. military mission against it. With plans underway for an escalation of U.S. forces to engage in direct action against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, as well as the increasing reality that this mission will go on for a significant amount of time, it’s time for Congress to revisit the question of a specific Authorization for Use of Military Force against ISIL – one that would provide a unified legal justification for a campaign that is otherwise being conducted outside the bounds of the administration’s authority.

“Since August 2014, ten American servicemembers - including Master Sergeant Josh Wheeler, who was killed during a raid by U.S. and Iraqi forces in Northern Iraq last week - have lost their lives serving in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Our engagement against ISIL has already come at a significant cost. The least we can do before the cost gets any higher is take a vote to authorize this mission and show those who we have asked to risk their lives that we support them.”