McConnell: 'The Next President May Want to Actually Defeat ISIL'

By Susan Jones | January 11, 2016 | 6:21am EST
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (AP File Photo)

( - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he'd like President Obama to "lay out a plan for the defeat of ISIL" in his final State of the Union address Tuesday night. "It's a good starting place," McConnell told ABC's "This Week."

Host George Stephanopoulos asked McConnell if the Senate will take up the president's request for authorization to wage war on the Islamic State, which Obama sent to Congress last February.

"What the president submitted for authorization to use military force restricted what he could do," McConnell said. "I can't imagine that I would be voting for an authorization to use military force that Barack Obama would sign because the one he submitted for us to take a look at restricted his activities, what he could do based upon conditions on the ground.

"But I don't want to tie the hands of the next president. The next president may want to actually defeat ISIL. And I think an AUMF, an authorization to use military force, that ties the president's hands behind his back is not something I would want to do to a new president who's going to have to clean up this mess, created by all of this passivity over the last eight years."

Obama's draft AUMF would not authorize long-term, large-scale, offensive, ground combat operations, and it would expire three years after enactment.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said last week that Republican leaders on his side of Congress are "beginning the process of gathering ideas and having listening sessions with our members about whether and how we could do" an AUMF.

In December, Ryan told reporters he will not pass an AUMF "that prohibits the next president from doing what he or she needs to do to destroy ISIS. And so far I've seen a lot of proposals that, I think, handcuff the next president."

Without an authorization specifically addressing Islamic State terrorists, President Obama has relied on congressional authorizations given to President George W. Bush for the fight against al-Qaida after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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