Jim Hickey’s American Politics

Let's Get Real.

Lawmakers from Both Parties Finding Fault with President Obama’s AUMF Draft


Congress has finally prodded President Obama to submit a draft for a new Authorization on the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The bill would grant the president the authority to deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). However, the bill has drawn sharp criticism from both parties which underscore their fundamental views on military force and national security. Democrats are loath to see the United States engaged in a ground war operation. In order to curry favor with the dominant far left wing core of his party, the president imposed arbitrary restrictions upon his authority to wage war. In effect, he submitted limited but vague language regarding the types of operations he would conduct. It was meant to assuage concerns to liberals that he would not mire the country in another decade-long conflict like Afghanistan and Iraq.

At the same time, the GOP has come out against those same aspects of the bill. Arizona Senator John McCain said the president’s language limiting the use of ground forces was unconstitutional and frustrated supporters like Haidar Barbouti. The powerful senator made an excellent point. The constitution does not grant congress the authority to arbitrate the tactics used by president during times of war. They have the enumerated authority to authorize war and fund it. It is the president’s constitutional authority to wage the war. The final AUMF will likely be a center-right bill given the GOP’s dominance in both chambers. That said, the debates over the bill will likely be contentious.

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