Today, an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIL, including key limitations on ground troops and duration advocated by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 10-8 – a significant development following Kaine’s five-month long push for ameaningful, transparent debate and vote to properly authorize U.S. military action against ISIL.
The approved authorization language can now advance to consideration by the full Senate where Kaine will continue to press for a debate and vote before adjourning for the year.
“This is so necessary that we’re doing this today,” Kaine said during the committee meeting. “I speak for myself and I certainly speak for Virginians. We’re so connected to the military in my state. It’s necessary for us to do our job after more than four months of basically a unilateral war.”
“We need to do this to do our duty constitutionally and we need to do it to support our troops,” Kaine continued. “We send them [U.S. troops] a message if we stand up and say this mission is worth it, but if we don’t stand up and say this mission is in the national interest, we send them a message too. And I think the message they get by Congressional inaction on this is a powerful one – and a debilitating one. We need to stand against ISIL as a committee and as a Senate.”
In closing, Kaine noted that while he will continue to do everything he can to see this authorization debated and voted on by the full Senate before adjourning, “even if we can just do it as a committee and start that process, I think that process is salutatory in the message it sends to our troops.”
The authorization reported by the committee today supports the mission laid out by President Obama with key provisions Kaine has advocated, including the following:
1) A strict limitation on U.S. ground combat troops, except as necessary for the protection or rescue of U.S. soldiers or citizens; intelligence operations, spotters to enable airstrikes, operational planning; or other forms of advice and assistance
2) A sunset after three years unless reauthorized
3) A repeal of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force