Congress will debate military action against ISIS

Susan Davis-- USA Today

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."

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