December 06, 2016

Kaine Statement On President Obama's National Security Address

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, released the following statement on the President’s address and memorandum outlining the rules governing the use of force:

“I strongly agree with the President that democracies should not operate in a state of perpetual war and that Congress has a solemn duty to authorize the current mission against ISIL. I also agree with what the President wrote in the memo released this week: Decisions as important as war and peace must be made pursuant to a legal framework and that detracting from that legal framework increases the risk of ill-considered decisions by current and future presidents. However, a presidential memorandum does not achieve these goals in the same way that an open debate in Congress about the contours of proposed military action does. In addition to avoiding dangerous precedents of unilateral executive power and overreach, an open debate in the legislative branch affords the public an opportunity to understand our military engagements and sends a message of resolve to our servicemembers who risk their lives for the sake of the mission.

“In May 2013, President Obama committed to engage Congress in an effort to update the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. More than three years later, the Administration continues to stretch the 2001 AUMF well beyond its intended scope, and Congress remains unwilling to debate, clarify, and authorize our current military actions in multiple countries. I hope that a transition to a new Administration and Congress in January will give us the opportunity to review ongoing military action against terrorist groups, redraft the 2001 AUMF, and reassert Congress’ rightful place in decisions of war and peace.”