Jeff Flake - U.S. Senator ~ Arizona

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Flake: Nearly Two-Thirds of Congress Not-Yet-Elected When Current AUMF Enacted

Uses AUMF hearing to urge support for Flake-Kaine resolution to authorize use of military force against the ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban

WASHINGTON – At today’s hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) spoke in support of his resolution with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to authorize use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.

“To work on the basis of a 16-year-old AUMF is simply not tenable. Our allies need to know where we are; our adversaries need to know where we are – they need to know we speak with one voice; our troops in the field need to know we speak with one voice. Not having a current AUMF lets [Congress] off the hook. It allows us to criticize the administration of either party when we should be involved and have skin in the game, as it were,” said Flake.

“I would note in the House, when we voted on the AUMF in 2001, it was a much different body with different members. Three hundred members who are in the House today did not vote on the 2001 AUMF. Do you want to know how many members of the Senate voted on the 2001 AUMF? Twenty-three. So three quarters of this body has not voted on an AUMF, and when you have a situation like that, we are not speaking with one voice…We need to be together on matters of foreign policy of this importance.”

To watch Flake’s full remarks, click here.

Flake’s remarks came during an exchange with John Bellinger, an author of the current AUMF, who testified in support of the bipartisan effort to pass an ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Taliban-specific AUMF. Bellinger served as Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration. To view Bellinger’s opening statement, click here.


  • On May 25, 2017, Flake and Kaine introduced a bipartisan AUMF against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. The Flake-Kaine AUMF explicitly authorizes military action against the three terrorist groups, gives Congress an oversight role it currently lacks over who can be considered to be “associated” with the terrorist groups and in which countries military action can take place, and provides an expedited process for Congress to re-authorize this AUMF in five years. Lastly, it repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. For more information on the Flake-Kaine AUMF, click here.