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Kaine Statement Urging Congressional Leaders To Commit To Debate And Vote On AUMF In Lame Duck Session

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today:

“The President’s decision to authorize 1,500 more U.S. troops to deploy to Iraq in non-combat roles is another reminder why we need to debate and vote on a new Authorization for Use of Military Force to combat ISIL as soon as possible in the lame duck session. While we have already waited too long to begin this process, I was encouraged when earlier this week President Obama committed to engage with Congress on a new AUMF right away. However, I’m troubled by suggestions today that Congress should wait until the new Congressional session in 2015 to take this vote. We have already asked too many U.S. servicemembers to risk their lives without a political consensus behind this mission. I urge leaders in the House and Senate to commit to a debate and vote on a new AUMF before the end of the year.”

In September 2014, Kaine submitted a proposal meant to reinforce the President’s strategy against ISIL, as well as set key limitations he hopes will be included in final authorizing language for broader Congressional consideration. His authorization is specific to ISIL and supports President Obama’s key pillars: a multinational effort to degrade and destroy ISIL, the use of necessary and appropriate force in a campaign of air strikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and the provision of military equipment to appropriately vetted forces in Iraq and Syria, including the Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters, and other legitimate, appropriately vetted, non-terrorist opposition groups in Syria. It also includes four key limitations: 1) no U.S. ground troops; 2) repeal of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force; 3) sunset after one year; 4) a narrow definition of “associated forces.”