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Sen. Kaine: Strikes On Islamic State Must Be Approved By Congress : NPR

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., discusses the need for President Obama to seek Congressional approval before moving ahead with military actions against the Islamic State.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In condemning the killing of Steven Sotloff, today President Obama said the U.S. will not be intimidated. Our reach is long, the president warned, and justice will be served. There are those who argue that any military strikes against the Islamic State should be authorized explicitly by Congress.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia has been outspoken in favor of that. We reached him today in Morocco where he’s leading a congressional delegation. And I asked him if the beheadings of the two American journalists have altered his thinking.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: They don’t alter my thinking, but I do think they increase the likelihood that Congress will support the president in a request for military authorization. It was after the recess began that the president first ordered airstrikes, and then we’ve had both examples of these horrible beheadings of American journalists. I think the president will find Congress very willing to work with him when we return on Monday to craft a crisp definition of what that mission against ISIL should be.

CORNISH: There doesn’t seem to have been an appetite among your colleagues, though, for a debate or a vote on this as we head into midterm elections. A number of your fellow Democrats say why put members of Congress in the position of voting on a measure that would be unpopular among their base – could hurt them on election day?

KAINE: Well, the reason we should do it, Melissa, is because we volunteered for the job, and this is the most sacred part of the job, and it is a responsibility that I will never, never cede to the president. The framers of the Constitution indicated that war should only be declared by Congress.

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