WASHINGTON —The White House sent ... - npsd.k12.nj.us

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WASHINGTON —The White House sent Congress a formal request Wednesday for authorization for the use of military force to combat the Islamic State militants, citing threats the group poses to Iraq and Syria, stability in the region, and the national security of the United States.

The three-page resolution limits the use of U.S. military forces for "enduring offensive ground combat operations" and has a three-year sunset. The president must also report to Congress "at least" every six months on the progress of the fight.

The authorization would replace the 2002 authorization used to authorize the war in Iraq.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said his panel would schedule swift hearings on the AUMF. The White House has been working with lawmakers in both parties on the text of the authorization in order to build support. However, President Obama has maintained that he has the existing legal authority to conduct operations against the terror organization also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Corker and Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., will lead a private discussion later today with Senate Republicans on the next steps.

"Voting to authorize the use of military force is one of the most important actions Congress can take, and while there will be differences, it is my hope that we will fulfill our constitutional responsibility, and in a bipartisan way, pass an authorization that allows us to confront this serious threat," Corker said.

House and Senate leaders said Tuesday that they expect debate and votes on the AUMF to dominate Congress' attention in the coming weeks, with floor votes likely in March.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday "the Senate will review the President's request thoughtfully. Individual Senators and committees of jurisdiction will review it carefully, and they'll listen closely to the advice of military commanders as they consider the best strategy for defeating ISIL."

President Obama has taken an important step in defining the US role in the fight vs ISIL. Now Congress must debate & vote on this mission.

— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) February 11, 2015

A growing chorus of lawmakers has been calling for a renewed debate on U.S. engagement in the shifting war on terrorism. "With the receipt of specific language from the president, Congress has run out of excuses for any further delay of a debate and vote on a new authorization," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.

Schiff also outlined a number of concerns among Democrats that are likely to come up in debate. For instance, the White House draft does not repeal a 2001 AUMF that provides the president broad authority to combat terrorist organizations. Some lawmakers are also likely to seek more specific limits on the use of ground troops and may argue tighter geographic limitations are necessary.

Israel, Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia & Lebanon are also in "Levant" territory. Am I right 2 B concerned by the language used in this AUMF?

However, top Republicans at the same time voiced concerns about imposing restrictions on the president's ability to mobilize ground troops if necessary. "I will not support efforts that impose undue restrictions on the U.S. military and make it harder to win," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, echoed GOP concerns about troop limits. "Any authorization for the use of military force must give our military commanders the flexibility and authorities they need to succeed and protect our people," he said.

"The delivery of this authorization is the beginning," Boehner told reporters, noting that the authorization will go through committees and likely be amended. "We've got an awful lot of work to do."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a statement urged lawmakers against putting any additional restrictions on the military as it works it way through the process. "Given the nature of our adversary and the complexity of our ongoing campaign, I urge Congress to avoid any undue restraints on the commander-in-chief's choices in the effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL," he said.

The authorization specifically allows for non-combat troops who direct offensive air operations and are often close to targets.



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