01.28.15

Rep. Adam Schiff Introducing Narrowly-Tailored Authorization for Use of Military Force Against ISIL

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), announced he is introducing a narrowly-tailored authorization for use of military force against ISIL. The bill, similar to one he introduced last year, is designed to give the President authority to carry on the military campaign he began almost six months ago and provides Congress an opportunity to debate and vote on the war against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, a goal that both Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama have stated and which Congress has yet to meet.

First, the measure would provide a three-year authorization for the use of force against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Second, the measure would harmonize the legal authorities under which the President is authorized to take offensive action by sunsetting the 2002 Iraq AUMF immediately and by sunsetting both the new authorities and the 2001 AUMF three years after the enactment of the joint resolution.  And third, the resolution prohibits the use of American ground forces in a combat mission in Iraq or Syria. 

“More than five months after strikes began against ISIL in Syria and Iraq, Congress has yet to debate and take a vote on an authorization to wage war, in clear abdication of our constitutional duties,” said Schiff. “ISIL represents a serious danger to the United States, having taken over large swaths of the region and used it to terrorize the population. With thousands of foreign fighters joining its ranks who have the ability to return to the United States and Europe, we have a compelling interest in stopping ISIL. There is no doubt that our current offensive amounts to war, and Congress should take action both to authorize its prosecution and to set limits on that authorization so it may not be used by any future administration in a manner contrary to our intent."

Schiff continued, “The bill I’m introducing today authorizes the use of force against ISIL, narrowly tailored to provide the President with the authority he has said is necessary to achieve our military goals. It also immediately repeals the 2002 AUMF and sunsets the 2001 AUMF, both of which provide a poor description of the nature of the conflict in which we are engaged more than a decade after their passage. Last month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took an important first step by debating and voting on a draft authorization – it’s my hope that today's introduction of this bill can help jumpstart the process in the House so Congress gets off the sidelines. Congress needs to do its job and debate and vote on an authorization, so the troops we have fighting this war know that we, too, have done our duty.”

The draft text of the resolution can be found below:

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”).

Whereas for months Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”) has been engaged in a campaign of murder and mayhem across a broad swath of Iraq and Syria that has killed thousands of innocent people and terrorized millions;

Whereas ISIL has brought under its control large areas of Iraq and Syria and announced on June 29, 2014, the establishment of a new caliphate;

Whereas in its conduct of military operations, its treatment of personnel captured on the battlefield, and its behavior towards civilians in areas under its control, ISIL has shown a level of brutality and depravity that shocks the conscience;

Whereas ISIL has brutally murdered American, British, and Japanese hostages and continues to hold and threated the lives of other western hostages;

Whereas the threat posed by the recruitment of ISIL fighters in the United States and Europe and the prospect of these fighters returning to the United States or allied countries jeopardizes the security of the United States and its allies;

Whereas ISIL poses an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and if left unchecked will be the locus of plots to attack our homeland;

Whereas the rise of ISIL, the continuing threat posed by al Qaeda, and the redeployment of United States combat troops from Afghanistan highlight the need to re-examine and harmonize the legal authorities under which the President is authorized to take offensive military action; and

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to protect the United States and its citizens from imminent threat or attack but Congress alone holds the power to declare war: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against ISIL Resolution”.

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) In General.—The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”).

(b) Geographical Limitation.—The authority granted in subsection (a) shall be confined to the territory of the Republic of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. The limitation of this subsection shall not apply to the Armed Forces of the United States engaged in training of indigenous Syrian or regional military forces for the purpose of combating ISIL

(c) No Authorization For Use Of Ground Forces In Combat.—The authority granted in subsection (a) does not include the authority for the deployment of ground forces in a combat role. For purposes of this subsection, “ground forces in a combat role” does not include special operations forces or other forces that may be deployed in a training, advisory, or intelligence capacity.

(d) Termination.—The authority granted in subsection (a) shall terminate on the date that is three years after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.

(e) War Powers Resolution Requirements.—

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION.—Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS.—Nothing in this joint resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

SEC. 3. REPEAL OF PRIOR AUTHORIZATIONS FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) Repeal.—The following provisions of law are hereby repealed:

(1) The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107–243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note).

(2) The Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–4050 U.S.C. 1541 note).

(b) Effective Date.—The repeal made by subsection (a)(2) shall be effective as of the date that is three years after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.

SEC. 4. REPORTS TO CONGRESS.

(a) In General.—The President shall, at least once every 60 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, submit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 2 and the status of planning for efforts that are expected to be required over the next 60 days.

(b) Consolidation.—To the extent that the submission of any report required in subsection (a) coincides with the submissions of any other report on matters relevant to this joint resolution otherwise required to be submitted to Congress pursuant to the reporting requirements of the War Powers Resolution, all such reports may be submitted as a single consolidated report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate.