Press Release

Congress Must Debate and Decide Whether to Authorize the Continued Use of Military Force Against ISIL

Statement of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight:

President Obama’s plan to destroy the Islamic State militant organization, also known as ISIL, puts the United States on the brink of another war.

Although Congress has not authorized the use of military force against ISIL, the President has been bombing targets in Iraq for more than 60 days. While the President may have defined our enemy, there are still serious questions that have not been answered—and should be—before our nation once again puts our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.

We urge Congress to hold a robust, transparent and fact-based debate. Perhaps the first question that must be answered is whether this new war can be waged under the existing 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF). If the President is utilizing either of these two authorizations, then he must release the Office of Legal Counsel justifications for doing so.

Congress must debate and decide whether to authorize the continued use of force against ISIL. This would also provide legal justification should the President seek to extend current military action into Syria, where ISIL enjoys a base of support.

The parameters of our military action should be clear—the President should not expect to be given a “blank check.” Beyond the question of legal authority, Congress and the President need to be clear on how this war will be funded, how success will be measured and when it will end.