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Levin wants next Senate to update its war powers

Levin wants next Senate to update its war powers

The retiring chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has introduced a bill that would shift Congress’ role from granting permission to holding veto power over any military action against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

But with the current Congress done, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he hopes that “a future Senate will consider” his bill.

Next month, the Senate is expected to debate an amendment to the Authorization of Military Force passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that would formally approve the military operations against the Islamic State group that began in August.

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the president to end any military operation if Congress has not approved it within 60 to 90 days, but because every president since then has viewed the measure as unconstitutional, the time line has never been enforced, Levin said in a Tuesday speech on the Senate floor.

That’s why Levin wants to update the War Powers Resolution to allow the president to attack Islamic State and other “non-state actors” unless Congress specifically prohibits such action.

“My amendment would provide that the authority to use U.S. armed forces against non-state actors would terminate after 60 days unless either: (1) the President’s actions are based on a law providing for the use of military force against a non-state actor; or (2) the President notifies Congress that continued use of military force is necessary because the non-state actor poses a ‘continuing and imminent threat’ to the United States or U.S. persons, and Congress does not enact a joint resolution of disapproval under expedited procedures,” Levin said in his floor speech.

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