Inhofe Delivers Floor Speech on the Need for an AUMF

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, today joined Sen.Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on the Senate floor to urge Congress to support a new Authorization of the Use of Force (AUMF) against ISIL.

Click here for video of the floor speech

As prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, Senator Hatch and I stand together to speak about the need for a new Authorization of the Use of Force – an “AUMF” – against the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State – ISIS or ISIL – in order to answer any legal question as to the authority the President has to defend the American people and demonstrate our commitment to the global coalition in defeating this radical Islam organization.

Last year, the Obama Administration said the President had the legal authority to engage in military action against ISIS.

I now understand that the President will be sending up to the Congress his own version of an AUMF this week, and I will read it with interest.

Over the past six months, ISIS/ISIL has expanded its control in Iraq and Syria, they continue to recruit followers worldwide, and they continue to behead and now burning their hostages

It is my hope that the President’s proposed AUMF will include all authorities needed to execute a strategy to stop ISIS AND that the President provides Congress with that strategy as part of any approval for an AUMF.

The President’s proposed AUMF should not contain restrictions on U.S. forces, or time and geographic limitations.

An AUMF should authorize the use all necessary and appropriate force anywhere where ISIS or any successor organization is operating until we accomplish our strategy. 

And at his State of the Union speech last month, President Obama specifically said:  “I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL. We need that authority.”  He already had it.

Subsequent official White House statements have called for a “right-sized, modernized AUMF . . . it would send a powerful signal to the citizens of this country, the citizens of our allies, and to our enemies.”

And on January 23, Chairman of Joint Chiefs Dempsey said: “I think in the crafting of the AUMF, all options should be on the table, and then we can debate whether we want to use them.  But the authorization should be there. . . . In particular, it shouldn't constrain activities geographically, because ISIL knows no boundaries [and] doesn’t recognize any boundaries -- in fact it's their intention to erase all boundaries to their benefit,” Dempsey said.  “Constraints on time, or a ‘sunset clause’, I just don’t think it’s necessary.  I think the nation should speak of its intent to confront this radical ideological barbaric group and leave the option until we can deal with it” concluded Dempsey. 

I do not think the immediate need for an AUMF could be put more clearly or succinctly than these words of General Dempsey, and it is my hope that he was intimately involved in the drafting of the Administration’s AUMF.

Again, Mr. President, I, along with many of my colleagues, look forward to reading President Obama’s proposed AUMF.

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