The groups want Congress to specifically state that the 2001 and 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) requests don’t include the Islamic State, or ISIL. Obama didn’t mention the old requests in his newest proposal, but the US has already been bombing the Islamic State for six months without congressional authorization, and Obama has said that the old requests give him the authority to do that.
Since August, the U.S. has led more than 2,000 airstrikes and spent for than $1.5 billion on assaults against ISIL.
“We urge that any new legislation that does not repeal the 2001 AUMF and the 2002 Iraq AUMF state explicitly that neither of those laws authorizes the use of force against ISIL,” says a letter the coalition sent to members of Congress. If Congress does nothing, the letter added, “it risks simply adding to what has become a tangled and ambiguous web of war authorities from which a president might pick and choose without explanation."
Several legislators have proposed putting an expiration date on the war authorization requests, but those proposals haven’t gotten anywhere. If Congress does nothing again about ISIL, it means the president can continue military operations against the terror group without a vote or oversight from Congress.