WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) caught nearly everybody off guard late Wednesday by quietly clearing the path for new legislation to declare war on the self-described Islamic State — an issue he’d signaled for months he had no interest in touching.
McConnell introduced a sweeping authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, that would give the president new authority to take action against the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. It wouldn’t put any limits on the duration, geography or use of U.S. ground combat troops in the war, or on the means by which the U.S. military could act. It also would keep in place a broad AUMF from 2001 that never expired and that allows the president to take military action against anyone, anywhere, connected to the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks.
In other words, it’s a war authorization that’s as wide open as it gets. (Read the text of McConnell’s proposal below.)
White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine couldn’t say if President Barack Obama would get behind McConnell’s vision of an AUMF.