“It is clear that the current mission in Iraq has extended beyond the limited, specific and targeted scope of preventing genocide and ensuring the security of U.S. personnel. The President must seek Congressional authorization before the situation escalates further,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Congress must have the opportunity to debate all options and consequences, including military, economic and diplomatic ones, to prevent the Islamic State (IS) from further destabilizing the region. If an authorization is necessary, it must be limited and specific to prevent passing of another blank check for endless war.”
“I know for some this would be an uncomfortable vote before an election -- but American forces are clearly engaged in military operations and being put in harm’s way,” Congressman McGovern said. “For their sake we owe them a thoughtful and deliberative process and an up-or-down vote. It’s clear that the U.S. mission has gone well beyond simply humanitarian assistance, beyond protecting U.S. personnel, and beyond just Iraq. If the overwhelming, bipartisan vote we took in July means anything, the Speaker should bring an authorization to the floor for a debate and a vote.”
Congressmen McGovern and Jones and Congresswoman Lee were the principle cosponsors of the bipartisan H. Con. Res. 105, which overwhelmingly passed the House before recess with 370 votes. The resolution stated: “The President shall not deploy or maintain United States Armed Forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without specific statutory authorization for such use enacted after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.”
The letter specifically calls on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to draft the authorization in order to provide a more nuanced approach that will include diplomatic and economic dimensions.