Press Release

December 9, 2014
Cardin Statement on Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State

Congress and the Obama Administration are in agreement that we have to act, in coordination with the international community, to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) after questioning Secretary of State John Kerry at a hearing of the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I do not agree with the contention that either the 2001 or 2002 authorizations for the use of military force provide a full authorization for the current U.S. military action occurring in Iraq and Syria. The 2001 authorization, which was intended to be limited to fighting those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, has been invoked at least 30 times by the last two administrations. These include the deployments of troops to Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Libya and Somalia.  I was in Congress when we passed both AUMF’s. If we would have thought that after 13 years, that the 2001 AUMF could be used the way it is, Congress would have drafted that authorization differently.
“Today, despite our agreement on many points, there exist some fundamental differences that must be reconciled in regards to the separation of powers. I believe in the War Powers Act. I believe that the solemn task of declaring war rests with Congress. It is up to Congress to draft the pending AUMF correctly, keeping in mind that the President has Article II powers to deal with the unexpected. The President can always ask Congress for additional authorizations but cannot, and should not wage a nearly perpetual war. I oppose authorizing a use of military force that is open-ended and could result in the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces. The American people and our troops deserve a more thoughtful approach to countering extremism. If we are to continue supporting the Iraqi Army and working with our friends and allies to eliminate ISIS/ISIL, we must do so by passing an appropriate authorization that reflects the will of the American people and respects our constitutional separations. It is time that we close this chapter, which is why I am offering an amendment to sunset the 2001 AUMF in three years. This isn’t about tying the hands of the Administration; it’s about looking at war and U.S. military engagement in a more thoughtful, measured and concise way.”