WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) — Members of Congress received a stern address from Sen. Tim Kaine on Thursday.
Friday marks nine months since the U.S. began operations against ISIS, and Kaine says it’s long past time for Congress to push for and pass new authorization for use of military force. And he didn’t hold back on the floor.
“The silence of Congress in the midst of this war is cowardly and shameful,” Sen. Kaine said. “Nine months of silence leaves the impression that Congress is either indifferent about ISIL and the threat it poses or lacks the backbone to do the job it is supposed to do.”
Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, said it’s immoral to continue on the way things have been. A challenge has been issued: Kaine said a real debate about the War on ISIS is needed now.
“We shouldn’t order young service members to risk their lives in a military mission unless Congress has debated the mission and reached the conclusion that it is in the nation’s best interest,” Kaine continued.
Service members lives are being lost, hostages are being killed and then there’s the disturbing trend here at home of those who have been inspired or influenced by ISIS. But Kaine’s words weren’t just directed toward Congress, and they haven’t been from the beginning of what he calls this “undeclared, unapproved, undefined and unchecked war.”
“As of today, ISIL has no indication whether Congress cares one iota about the ongoing war,” Sen. Kaine said. “Mr. President, the role of Congress in war is indisputable. The only way the 2001 authorization could be stretched to cover ISIL is if they pretend that that authorization is a blank check, giving the president power to wage war against any terrorist group.”
Kaine said the president does not have the legal power to maintain this war without Congress. So, it’s time for Congress to get to work. He’s urging the Obama administration to seek a specific authorization for U.S. military action against ISIS. And he said Congress has to do what it should have done months ago, debate and vote on the mission of troops overseas.