WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement after voting to prevent a government shutdown and to allow President Obama to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters in the effort to degrade and destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):
“President Obama’s strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL is a sound policy given the very real threat they pose. That is why I voted today to train and equip the moderate Syrian forces. However, I believe it is past time for Congress to reassert its constitutional authority by passing a new and more narrow authorization of use of military force that repeals the 2002 Iraq War AUMF language and replaces it with a more limited and up to date authorization. We must meet this threat as part of an international coalition. America will do our part, but countries in the region must provide the ground troops to protect and stabilize their own backyard. That is not our role."
Senator Heinrich is a cosponsor of a resolution (S.J.RES.44) introduced by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) yesterday that offers a narrow and specific authorization for use of military force against ISIL and reinforces President Obama’s strategy to degrade and destroy the terrorist organization. The resolution also repeals the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution. The authorization is specific to ISIL and supports President Obama’s key pillars: a multinational effort to degrade and destroy ISIL, the use of necessary and appropriate force in a campaign of air strikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria and the provision of military equipment to appropriately vetted forces in Iraq and Syria, including the Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters, and other legitimate, appropriately vetted, non-terrorist opposition groups in Syria.
It specifically includes four key limitations:
- No U.S. ground troops;
- Repeal of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force;
- Sunset after one year;
- Narrow definition of "associated forces."