“I have been supportive of efforts to give the Commander-in-Chief additional authorities to confront these growing challenges, but rather than expanding his legal authority to go after ISIL [Islamic State], the President seems determined to ask Congress to further restrict the authority of the US military to confront this threat,” McCarthy, a Republican, said in a press release.
McCarthy said he would consider the president’s request for new legal authority to fight the Islamic State, but “will not support efforts that impose undue restrictions on the U.S. military and make it harder to win.”
While the draft AUMF does not endorse long-term US combat ground operation, Obama proposed “flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances,” the president said in a letter. This would include special operations rescue operations for US or anti-Islamic State coalition personnel as well as operations to strike at the Islamic State’s leadership.
“It [AUMF] would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces,” the president said.
The United States is spearheading a nearly 60-nation anti-Islamic State coalition targeting the militant group’s military positions, command and control centers, infrastructure and financial sources, according to the Pentagon. As part of the effort to “degrade and defeat” the Islamic State, the US and its coalition partners are supporting and training Kurdish and Iraqi security forces, and are planning to train moderate Syrian rebels over the next year to take the ground fight to the Islamic State in Syria.