Washington, D.C. – Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued this statement regarding the White House draft language on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to combat ISIL.

“I look forward to the congressional debate on the Authorization for Use of Military Force to combat ISIL. I welcome the Administration laying out the type of authorization they are seeking, and look forward to their continued involvement and engagement in order to achieve congressional approval of an AUMF. It is vitally important that we act together to send ISIL a clear and unified message that they will be defeated.  My longstanding view remains that the 9/11 AUMF should not serve as the legal basis for this fight against ISIL, nor should the 2002 Iraq AUMF. That is why the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year led on this issue and passed an AUMF.

“ISIL is a national security threat and we must ensure that we can defeat and degrade this organization before they develop the operational capacity to strike us here at home. To achieve that goal, we will continue to need our partners in the Arab world and beyond to remain committed and prepared to contribute resources, funding, and strategic support. ISIL is a barbaric organization, destabilizing and terrorizing the region, and the world must stand united against everything this terrorist group represents.

“We continue to mourn the loss of the innocent people who have died in a most brutal fashion at the hands of ISIL. In recent days and weeks, humanitarian aid worker and American citizen Kayla Mueller was killed, as were two Japanese civilians, a Jordanian pilot, countless Syrians, Iraqis, Kurds, and peoples of varied faiths and backgrounds. Families have endured untold suffering and we share in their pain and grief.”

Background:

On December 11, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed an AUMF against ISIL by a vote of 10 to 8. That AUMF text can be found here.