Today, Rep. Adam Schiff, a senior Member of the House Intelligence Committee, introduced an authorization for use of military force against ISIL, meeting Congress’ constitutional imperative in declaring war. First, the authorization would give temporary, tailored authority for the combat ongoing against ISIL in Iraq, and for strikes against ISIL targets in Syria. And 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 then sunsetting both the new authorities and the 2001 AUMF eighteen months after the enactment of the joint resolution. Third, the resolution does not authorize the use of ground combat forces in Iraq or Syria.
“ISIL represents a serious danger to the United States – its savage, well-armed legions have taken over a large swath of northern Syria and Iraq, and its hundreds of foreign fighters pose a long-term threat to us and to our allies,” said Rep. Schiff. “The President has announced an offensive against ISIL that amounts to war, but Congress alone has the authority to do so within the Constitution. Congress need not wait for to be asked to approve such an authorization; it is our Constitutional obligation to approve or reject the use of force, and we must not adjourn without a vote.
“Accordingly, and in keeping with Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, I am introducing a joint resolution authorizing the use of force against ISIL, while repealing the outdated 2002 AUMF and sunsetting the 2001 AUMF which badly needs updating 13 years after its passage. I urge swift Congressional action so that the President and our Armed Forces may know that the Congress stands behind them – and that we, too, have done our duty.”
The draft text of Rep. Schiff’s authorization for use of military force is 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 an almost unchecked 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 brutally murdered two American journalists and a British aid worker and has threatened 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 pending 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 18 months 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 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note).
(b) Effective date.—The repeal made by subsection (a)(2) shall be effective as of the date that is 18 months 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.