Tags: Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Syria | War on Terrorism

GOP Senators Voice Support for Military Action Against ISIS

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Nov 2014 09:10 PM

Republican senators say they'll support authorizing military force against the Islamic State (ISIS) but want to keep President Barack Obama's options open for fighting the terrorists.

"I would vote for a broad authorization allowing this president and our military to do what's necessary to degrade and destroy" ISIS,  Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday, The Hill reports.

But if the language of the measure "ties the military in knots, forget about it," he said.

"The idea of Congress managing military operations is a lousy idea," added Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "If the Congress doesn't like what the president's doing, they can always cut off funding for any military operation."

The GOP support came after Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen said Congress should prevent any new money for the ISIS fight from being used for combat operations.

Obama is seeking fresh authority to use military force against the Islamic militants. The administration now relies on the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) granted the Bush administration after 9/11 to target al-Qaida and associated forces, The Hill reports.

Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine, who's introduced one of a handful of authorizations pending in both chambers, is pressing for a vote on an updated version of the AUMF, Defense News reports.

Kaine warns that if Congress doesn't give Obama formal legal cover for airstrikes, some lawmakers "absolutely" will introduce measures designed "to get in the way" of the airstrikes and ultimately "stop a war," Defense News reports.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain told The Hill that he'd be glad to vote on an AUMF during the lame-duck session, but that the right measure will be "very difficult to work out."

"I would rather [wait], but if they want to move forward on it right now, I'd be glad," McCain told The Hill. "It's a very complex situation because the commander in chief is the commander in chief, we don't want to circumscribe his authority, but at the same time we want to authorize it, that's the careful balance."

"If the president asks for it, we should be working on it," he continued.

Obama's plan to send 1,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq to advise local forces in the battle against ISIS militants, doubling the U.S. presence to more than 3,000, is an "incremental" approach that makes ISIS stronger and "more entrenched," Graham told The Hill.

"You're going to be north of 10,000 if you want to get Iraq right, and you're going to have that same number at least in Syria," Graham said.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said he was "in discussions with my colleagues about what an AUMF should look like," The Hill reports.

"When I get the right circumstances in terms of commitments from people and where they want to proceed, that's when I'll proceed," Menendez said.

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Republican senators say they'll support authorizing military force against the Islamic State (ISIS) but want to keep President Barack Obama's options open for fighting the terrorists.
GOP, authorization, military, ISIS
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2014-10-12
Wednesday, 12 Nov 2014 09:10 PM
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