WASHINGTON — Congressman Jim Banks, Columbia City, announced that he is introducing a bill to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Banks bill is the House version of identical legislation introduced by Senator Todd Young (IN) last week.
“Our constituents send us to Congress to represent their views, and they should have their voices heard as we consider more military action in the fight against ISIS.” said Banks. “The Constitution grants Congress the power of declaring war, and we need to take that obligation seriously. Rather than continuing to fight ISIS under an authorization passed by Congress in 2001 to fight al-Qaeda, it is time to pass a new authorization for the use of military force against ISIS. Congress should take a fresh look at the scourge of ISIS and evaluate the best strategy to defeat these radical extremists.”
“I applaud Congressman Banks’ leadership in introducing a House companion version of my authorization of military force against ISIS and Al Qaeda,” said Senator Young. “Our troops are bravely fighting overseas to keep us safe, and it is important for them and their families to know that Congress stands with them.”
Background: Congressman Banks’ bill repealed the current 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and replace them with a new one that specifically authorizes our troops to fight against ISIS by naming them in the resolution. The AUMFs from 2001 and 2002 are overly broad, authorizing our troops to go to war with affiliates of any entity that contributed to the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
While some legal scholars and Middle East experts argue that al-Qaeda evolved into ISIS, and therefore, the old AUMFs are still valid, the broad scope of the existing law needs to be revised as they are 15 years old and ISIS did not even exist as an organization when the old AUMFs were originally passed.
Additionally, only a small fraction — a mere 25 percent — of current Members of Congress (House & Senate) were present when the current AUMFs were passed in 2001 & 2002. Under the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 11) Congress is granted the power to declare war. As such and as the President considers increases in military action, Congressman Banks wants Congress to lead the conversation about going to war against ISIS, instead of merely paying the bill for the war.