Republican Sen. Marco Rubio commended President Obama for coming to Congress with a request for limited authorization to fight ISIS, but said Thursday he needs every available power.
“I think it should be a pretty straight forward authorization,” Rubio said on the Senate floor. “It should say, ‘We authorize the president of the United States to destroy ISIL, to defeat them militarily.”
“I have very serious concerns and very serious reservations about our current strategy when it comes to ISIS,” he added. “I’m not sure it’s sufficient. I think it’s a strategy that will contain them, but it will not defeat them.”
Obama’s war proposal to fight ISIS has met with bipartisan criticism. Democrats worry the AUMF gives the president too much power, and could lead the country into another drawn out war. But Republicans, such as Rubio, say the AUMF doesn’t give the president enough power.
“We thank him for submitting one, but now it’s the job of the senate to write one of its own, and it may reflect many of the things the president wants,” Rubio added. “But what I believe it should reflect more than anything else is that we authorize him to defeat ISIS no matter what it takes, and no matter how long it takes.”
The war proposal would limit the president’s power in an unprecedented way, banning “enduring offensive ground combat operations” and restricting the use of power to three years.
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch called the proposal “utterly stupid.”
“And here we have the president coming up with this — I think it’s utterly stupid — proposal,” Hatch said in a radio interview reported by The Hill. “And he’s binding the next president also with really stupid language.”
“Any president worth his or her salt is going to ask for as much authority as they can get, so at least the ISIS people know that he has the authority to come in on them anyway he wants to.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi admitted her members aren’t excited about the proposal, and said it will be “hard” to pass any version of an AUMF.
“I don’t ever remember a president sending legislation to the Congress to limit his power as commander in chief, so I think the administration has to be commended for that,” she said. “And we have to be commended for exercising our independent judgment … This is a very personal decision that people have to make.”