Home National Politics Sen. Kaine Introduces Authorization for Use of Military Force Against ISIL

Sen. Kaine Introduces Authorization for Use of Military Force Against ISIL


Narrow, Specific Authorization Bars Ground Troops & Sunsets After One Year 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, will introduce a narrow and specific authorization for use of military force against ISIL. As the Foreign Relations Committee prepares to draft a tailored authorization to provide President Obama with authority in the mission to degrade and destroy ISIL, Kaine’s proposal is meant to reinforce the President’s strategy, as well as set key limitations he hopes will be included in final authorizing language for broader Congressional consideration.
In announcing the proposal, Kaine said: “Last week, President Obama laid out a strong case for the need to degrade and destroy ISIL and invited broader Congressional support for this effort. I was heartened when Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Menendez answered this call by saying the committee would soon craft authorizing language for the U.S. military mission. It’s my hope that this proposal will help move the ball forward on what a specific and narrow authorization for limited military action against ISIL should look like – one that bars the deployment of U.S. ground combat troops except for rescue missions or limited operations against high-value targets, and sunsets in one year so that progress can be assessed before continuing the mission. I also propose the repeal of the obsolete 2002 Iraq War authorization. If Congress isn’t willing to do the hard work – to debate and vote on an authorization – we should not be asking our servicemembers to go into harm’s way.”


The authorization is specific to ISIL and supports President Obama’s key pillars: a multinational effortto degrade and destroy ISIL, the use of necessary and appropriate force in a campaign of air strikesagainst ISIL in Iraq and Syria and the provision of military equipment to appropriately vetted forces in Iraq and Syria, including the Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters, and other legitimate, appropriately vetted, non-terrorist opposition groups in Syria.


It also includes four key limitations:


1)      No U.S. ground troops;

2)      Repeal of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force;

3)      Sunset after one year;

4)      Narrow definition of “associated forces.”

Full text of Kaine’s legislation is below:

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant:

Whereas that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS or the Islamic State, is a terrorist organization committing daily acts of barbarity currently encompassing large portions of Syria and Iraq, and is a serious threat to the United States and the international community;

Whereas ISIL’s violence is destructive of religious freedom, the equality of women, protections against genocide, principles of national sovereignty, freedom of expression, and other core human rights protected by international law;

Whereas ISIL’s grisly execution of United States hostages, recruitment of United States citizens and others to serve as foreign fighters that threaten to return to the United States and other nations, and pledges to carry out additional acts of violence directly against the United States make it a threat of growing significance to the United States; and

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2169 (2014) and 2170 (2014) note that ISIL’s advancement is a major threat to Iraq’s future, condemn attacks by ISIL, reiterate international community support for Iraq’s security and territorial integrity, and emphasize the need for the international community to work together to help stabilize Iraq and combat ISIL: Now therefore be it

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


This joint resolution may be cited as the “Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”.


(a) In General.—In order to protect the United States and other countries from terrorist attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and in order to protect individuals from acts of violence in clear contravention of international law and basic human rights, the President is authorized, as part of a multinational coalition, subject to the limitations in subsection (b)—

(1) to use all necessary and appropriate force to participate in a campaign of airstrikes in Iraq, and if the President deems necessary, in Syria, to degrade and defeat ISIL; and

(2) to provide military equipment and training to forces fighting ISIL in Iraq or Syria, including the Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters, and other legitimate, appropriately vetted, non-terrorist opposition groups in Syria.

(b) No Authorization for Use of Ground Forces or Force Against Associated Forces.—The authorization in this section does not include—

(1) authorization for the use of United States ground combat forces, except for the purposes set forth in subsection (a)(2) or as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger posed by ISIL, or for limited operations against high value targets; or

(2) authorization for the use of force against forces associated with ISIL, unless such forces are identified in a report submitted under section 4 as individuals or organizations that are immediately and directly fighting alongside ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

(c) Expiration.—The authorization in this section shall expire on the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.

(d) 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 resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.


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


Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this resolution, and every 90 days thereafter, the President shall submit to Congress a list of those organizations or individuals immediately and directly fighting alongside ISIL for purposes of actions taken pursuant to this joint resolution. The list shall be maintained in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.


The President shall report to Congress every 90 days after enactment of this resolution regarding the progress of the effort against ISIL.


Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as—

(1) authorizing support for force in support of, or in cooperation with, the national government of Syria that was in power as of the date of the enactment of this resolution, or its security services; or

(2) limiting the constitutional or statutory powers of the President or Congress, or any additional powers held by the United States pursuant to international law or treaty.

  • September 17, 2014 Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on his vote in favor of the McKeon Amendment to the Continuing Resolution, authorizing the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals to combat ISIL.

    “The McKeon Amendment is not a formal authorization for this President or future presidents to use American military force in Syria.  It has been argued that the President already has such authorization pursuant to the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations of Use of Military Force.  I do not, however, believe these are sufficient authorizations to target terrorist groups that may not have even existed 13 years ago.  And that is why I support a repeal of both the 2001 and 2002 authorizations to allow Congress an opportunity to assess the current situation, review all the facts, debate the issue, and then vote on whether or not to authorize continued American military action in the Middle East and around the world.

    “Virtually every country in the Middle East is experiencing internal turmoil and any action taken by the United States has the potential of backfiring.  However, by working with our allies and partners in the region and around the world, President Obama is thoughtfully and deliberately building an international coalition to address this quagmire. The McKeon Amendment is narrowly drafted to allow the President to use existing resources in a way limited to training and equipping only properly vetted moderates in the Syrian opposition willing to combat ISIL.

    “The McKeon Amendment will hopefully afford Congress the necessary time to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations of Use of Military Force and debate whether or not to grant the President a new authorization limited in scope to address the ISIL threat with sustained American military action.”