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Politics Senators introduce bill to update Trump's war authority

02:26  17 april  2018
02:26  17 april  2018 Source:   thehill.com

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A bipartisan group of senators introduced the legislation to update the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) on Monday. But that could be a big ask heading into a midterm election, where leadership could be wary of starting debate of Trump ' s war authority .

A bill for an updated war authorization should be unveiled as early as Monday. WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump would get broad authority to use force against “I hope President Trump will follow the American Constitution,” the Democratic senator from Virginia said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Bob Corker in a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill Senators are renewing a long-stalled debate over President Trump's legal authority to target terrorist groups overseas.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced the legislation to update the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) on Monday.

If passed it would replace the 2001 and 2002 bills that authorized the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and have been used as the legal basis for military action against terrorist groups.

"There have been a number of efforts over the years to update these authorities, and while there is still work ahead, I am pleased that we have reached an agreement on a product for the committee to consider," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

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Senators are planning to introduce legislation as soon as Tuesday to require President Trump to get congressional approval for tariffs implemented for national security purposes. Corker said that he is hoping to add his bill to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual defense policy bill

In addition to Corker, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) are supporting the bill.

Though the legislation comes days after President Trump launched "precision" military strikes in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, the bill does not address the president's legal authority to take action against Syrian President Bashar Assad or any other nation state.

In addition to repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, it allows Trump to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"Our proposal finally repeals those authorizations and makes Congress do its job by weighing in on where, when, and with who we are at war," Kaine added in a statement.

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In a move that is likely to draw backlash from liberal lawmakers and outside groups, it would allow Trump to take action against an associated terrorist group or use military action in a new country without congressional authorization.

Trump would then need to notify Congress, who would have 60 days to try to remove his authority to target the associated group or prohibit him from taking action in a specific country, under the legislation.

Corker told reporters that the legislation does not include a built-in sunset for the new AUMF.

Instead, it establishes a process that every four years a president must submit a proposal to Congress, which could then be fast-tracked through both chambers. If Congress doesn't pass new legislation, the Corker-Kaine war bill would stay in place.

The legislation comes as Congress has struggled for years with passing a new war authorization amid deep political and policy divides.

Corker said he hopes the Foreign Relations Committee will mark up the legislation next week, as soon as Monday.

He noted earlier this year that he would like a week of floor time to debate the issue, if it can get passed his committee. But that could be a big ask heading into a midterm election, where leadership could be wary of starting debate of Trump's war authority.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said late last week that he has not heard any discussion of giving the bill floor time.

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