The ISIS war has been being fought for quite some time now, without any Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) on the books that could plausibly authorize it. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has started considering legislation that would change that.
Sen. Bob Corker (R – TN) endorsed the idea of a new AUMF, saying it is “important for Congress to exercise its constitutional role” in conflicts. The AUMF being discussed goes well beyond the ISIS war, however, authorizing US military operations in Somalia, Libyan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamist groups.
Laying out all the details of what’s being authorized is a complicated matter, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D – MD) suggested that the only way they could really make sure they cover all the myriad wars they mean to authorize is for President Trump to formally present a strategy.
That’s not likely to happen, with President Trump having made clear during the campaign he takes a dim view of talking about strategy in public. It also doesn’t stand to gain him much, since no one in Congress seems to be too concerned about the wars all being fought without AUMFs at any rate, meaning if anythig, this could limit his future war-launching ability by setting a precedent of Congressional involvement.
Of course, many of the people who’ve been arguing loudest for a new AUMF have this in mind, and are hoping to bring the wars up to a vote so they can vote against them, and have Congress on the record opposing the conflict. Whether that could actually happen is unclear, but Congressional leadership has scrapped the vote in the past rather than risk losing, which is why several years of war have come and gone with no proper AUMF votes.