Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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Bipartisan Group of House Lawmakers Call on Speaker Ryan to Bring ISIS War Authorization to House Floor for Debate and Vote

Feb 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) led a broad bipartisan coalition of 19 House lawmakers called on Speaker Ryan to schedule a debate and vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as quickly as possible following news of a Pentagon proposal to send U.S. ground troops to northern Syria, just the latest escalation in the continuing military operations against ISIS.

Congressman McGovern has been an outspoken critic of both Republican and Democratic presidents and the increasing power of the executive branch when it comes to war. Joining McGovern on today’s letter were Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tom Cole (R-OK), John Lewis (D-GA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Peter Welch (D-VT), Raul Labrador (R-ID), David Cicilline (D-RI), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Justin Amash (R-MI), and John Garamendi (D-CA).

In today’s letter, the bipartisan group of lawmakers called on Speaker Ryan to “immediately bring before the U.S. House of Representatives one or more authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) regarding the deployment and use of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. A separate AUMF on deployment of U.S. troops to Yemen is also warranted, given recent statements by the President and former National Security Advisor.   

The bipartisan group added that they are “alarmed that the Pentagon is considering U.S. troop deployment in northern Syria, in addition to the Special Operations forces already deployed there. Another AUMF is needed to address whether American troops might be deployed to enter the Saudi-led war against Houthi forces in Yemen. The recent death in combat of a U.S. Navy SEAL, the wounding of others in his company, and the statements by President Trump and former National Security Advisor Flynn on deploying U.S. troops in Yemen to confront Iranian forces provide added urgency to the need for action on the part of the Congress.

The lawmakers highlighted the failure of Congress to address these issues during the final three years of the Obama Administration, saying that it “established a dangerous precedent for the presidency, one where the President of the United States may deploy or threaten deployment of U.S. troops to any region for any purpose without the consent and explicit authorization of Congress.” 

In today’s letter the lawmakers urged Speaker Ryan to “immediately ask President Trump to send to Congress a request for an AUMF that addresses the fight against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, Iraq, and the surrounding region; and a separate AUMF regarding deployment of U.S. troops in Yemen.  If these are not immediately forthcoming, we ask that the leadership of the House bring before this body its own draft AUMFs for consideration, debate and a vote. These are urgent matters of national security. It is vital that Congress reasserts its institutional prerogative and takes up its constitutional duties in matters of war and peace by explicitly authorizing U.S. military engagement abroad.

Click here to view the letter online.

Full Text of Today’s Letter to Speaker Ryan is Below:

February 17, 2017

The Honorable Paul Ryan

Speaker of the House

H-232 U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Speaker Ryan,

            It is with a grave sense of urgency that we write and ask you to immediately bring before the U.S. House of Representatives one or more authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) regarding the deployment and use of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. A separate AUMF on deployment of U.S. troops to Yemen is also warranted, given recent statements by the President and former National Security Advisor.   

Specifically, such AUMFs should address combating the forces of the Islamic State in the region, as well as al-Qaeda and its affiliates, as had been requested in the 113th and 114th Congresses.  We are alarmed that the Pentagon is considering U.S. troop deployment in northern Syria, in addition to the Special Operations forces already deployed there.  

Another AUMF is needed to address whether American troops might be deployed to enter the Saudi-led war against Houthi forces in Yemen. The recent death in combat of a U.S. Navy SEAL, the wounding of others in his company, and the statements by President Trump and former National Security Advisor Flynn on deploying U.S. troops in Yemen to confront Iranian forces provide added urgency to the need for action on the part of the Congress.

We believe that the failure of Congress to address these issues with a debate and vote on an AUMF during the final three years of the Obama Administration established a dangerous precedent for the presidency, one where the President of the United States may deploy or threaten deployment of U.S. troops to any region for any purpose without the consent and explicit authorization of Congress. 

We urge you to immediately ask President Trump to send to Congress a request for an AUMF that addresses the fight against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, Iraq, and the surrounding region; and a separate AUMF regarding deployment of U.S. troops in Yemen.  If these are not immediately forthcoming, we ask that the leadership of the House bring before this body its own draft AUMFs for consideration, debate and a vote.

These are urgent matters of national security. It is vital that Congress reasserts its institutional prerogative and takes up its constitutional duties in matters of war and peace by explicitly authorizing U.S. military engagement abroad.

Sincerely,

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