STATEMENT BY SECRETARY KERRY: Support for Authorization for Use of Military Force (February 11)

President Obama’s draft resolution to authorize the use of military force against ISIL is important, and it’s important for our country that we work with Congress to achieve its passage. We are strongest as a nation when the Administration and Congress work together on issues as significant as the use of military force. The world needs to hear that the United States speaks with one voice in the fight against ISIL. I spent almost thirty years in the Senate. I care about the institution and I particularly respect the voice that Congress can and should have on foreign policy and national security. This is a moment where Congress can make it clear all over the world that no matter differences on certain issues, at home we’re absolutely united and determined in defeating ISIL. I meet and talk with many of my former colleagues. I know how committed they are to getting this right. I also know from talking with so many Foreign Ministers all over the world that they study our debates here at home, and these public signals matter to them. The Coalition itself will be stronger with passage of this AUMF.

The near daily drumbeat of ISIL’s barbaric acts has only strengthened the world’s collective resolve to defeat ISIL.  We’ve already taken decisive action to reverse ISIL’s momentum, and it is critical that we move forward together in the next phase of the Coalition’s campaign.

The President has been clear that he wants to work with the Congress to pass a bipartisan AUMF specifically tailored to address the threat posed by ISIL.  Enacting an AUMF specific to ISIL will provide a clear and powerful signal to the American people, to our allies, and to our enemies. The Administration has consulted with Republicans and Democrats to develop a smart, targeted, and limited AUMF that reflects the President’s policy and that we believe Congress can pass with bipartisan support.