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Kaine Statement On Expanded U.S. Military Operations Against ISIL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern, South and Central Asian Affairs, released the following statement today on expanded U.S. military operations against ISIL:

"Actions by ISIL over the past several months, including the gruesome murder of an American journalist and threats against others, are barbaric and the work of a callous terrorist organization. I agree that ISIL poses a significant terrorist threat to U.S. interests and partners in the region, which is why the Administration has initiated military action against the group. But I do not believe that our expanded military operations against ISIL are covered under existing authorizations from Congress.  The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force does not apply, and the Administration has testified that the 2002 Iraq war authorization is obsolete and should be repealed.  Under Article II, the President has authority to defend against imminent threats to U.S. national security interests and personnel, but I have reservations regarding whether our military actions against ISIL all meet this test.

“I’m encouraged by reports that indicate Administration officials have signaled that seeking Congressional authorization for U.S. military action against ISIL is being considered. This fight, and the threat posed by ISIL, is serious enough that Congress and the Administration must be united on U.S. policy going forward. I urge the Administration to use the next two weeks to clearly define the strategy and objectives of its mission against ISIL, then bring it to Congress for a debate and authorization vote. 

“I have long stressed that Congress must formally approve the initiation of significant military action – it is what the framers of the Constitution intended, and Congress and the Executive have a responsibility to do the hard work to build a political consensus in support of our military missions. ??

"No one doubts the inhumane nature of ISIL. The Secretary of Defense has described ISIL as ‘beyond anything that we’ve seen.’  I applaud the setbacks ISIL has suffered at the hands of the U.S. military.  And I will always support the President when he takes action to protect American servicemembers and diplomats.  But I am calling for the mission and objectives for this current significant military action against ISIL to be made clear to Congress, the American people, and our men and women in uniform.  And Congress should vote up or down on it.”? ?