A group of senators led by U.S. Senators Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Tim Kaine, a committee Democrat, proposed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF, that would authorize "all necessary and appropriate force" against al Qaeda, the Taliban, Islamic State and associated forces.
The legislation, cosponsored by Senators Jeff Flake (R-Az.), Chris Coons (D-De.), Todd Young (R-In.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fl.), strengthens congressional oversight and transparency and provides the executive with updated authorities to fight non-state terrorist groups overseas. This would clarify that force is authorized against various militant groups, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, but would not authorize any attacks on any nations, including Syria.
· Quadrennial Congressional Review: Establishes a process for Congress to review the AUMF every four years without risking a lapse in authorization.
Finally, every four years, it requires the president to submit to Congress a plan to repeal, modify or keep the authorizations.
The president could also act against a new designated force or country immediately but would have to notify Congress within 48 hours, which would trigger a new debate on whether that force or country is applicable under the AUMF.
Repeal of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs: Repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs after the new AUMF has been in place for 120 days. If lawmakers don't take any action, the existing authorities stay in place. Such a notification triggers a 60-day period during which legislation to remove the authority to use military force against the new associated force or in the new foreign country will qualify for expedited consideration.
"The current authorization that our current president is using to conduct war in a number of places has virtually no limits and it's time for us to act to provide for those limits", Coons said. Congress is constitutionally required to authorize any sustained military action, but House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have denied war authorization votes for years, for no real reason other than shielding their party members from a politically tough vote.
Previous suggestions of a revised AUMF have tended to be opposed by presidents, who see them as necessarily limited their power.
That AUMF authorized force against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and has continued to provide the legal rationale for the current US campaign against ISIS, which the Obama administration argued is a successor of al-Qaeda. And just last week, Speaker Ryan said Trump could use the 17-year-old war authorization to bomb the Syrian government, which has nothing to do with al Qaeda. "This is personal to me as the father of a Marine and someone who represents a state so closely connected to the military". Should Congress fail to pass a new AUMF, the existing authority will continue.