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February 11, 2015

King Statement on AUMF

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, released the following statement today after the Obama Administration submitted to Congress an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL):

“ISIL is an aggressive, destructive threat that jeopardizes not only our allies and partners in the region, but Americans at home and abroad and they must be stopped.

“But, for too long we have waged a war against ISIL under the authority of the 2001 AUMF and the 2002 Iraq AUMF when, instead, this mission should have a distinct authorization approved by Congress. And I have long called on the Administration to submit and for Congress to consider a tailored authorization for the use of military force against ISIL because I believe it's not only good policy to have Congress engaged in this debate, but that it's also constitutionally required.

“I look forward to carefully reviewing the language, but initially, I am concerned about the Administration's term 'does not authorize... enduring offensive ground combat operations.’ Congress must more specifically define that term in the coming debate.

“As we continue to fight ISIL, I believe Congress must step up to meet its responsibility and put our stamp on this mission. In the end, our country will be stronger for it and our resolve to destroy ISIL will only be strengthened through our unity.”

Currently, the Administration is justifying American engagement against ISIL under the 2001 AUMF, which was passed by Congress following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as under the 2002 AUMF that authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Administration’s proposal for a new authorization would replace the 2002 AUMF, but leave the 2001 AUMF in place to deal with the global threat posed by Al Qaeda and its associated forces.

Senator King has consistently expressed concern about the scope of the 2001 AUMF and has urged his colleagues and the Administration to take action to bring it in line with current requirements. In remarks on the Senate floor last December, Senator King urged his colleagues to specifically authorize the mission against ISIL outside of the 2001 AUMF.

In January 2014, Senator King joined Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) to introduce the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014, legislation that would strengthen the consultative process between Congress and the President on whether and when to engage in military action.


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