Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., the former head of the Democratic National Committee, said Obama "must seek congressional approval" before launching military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) unless there is a direct and imminent threat to the United States, such as a threat to the U.S. Embassy. There is no such imminent threat now, Kaine said. Kaine said that neither the 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks targeting al-Qaida, nor the 2002 Iraq AUMF should apply to the current civil war in Iraq.
"It would be a wholly unprecedented stretch" to use the 2001 AUMF in Iraq, Kaine said, noting that ISIL is not allied with al-Qaida. And he noted that the administration itself has called for the repeal of the 2002 Iraq resolution , which he said was obsolete.
Kaine knocked the White House for not proposing an updated to the 2001 AUMF, and said they should do so to address the ISIL threat and other issues. He also pointed to popular opinion.
“The American public has never expressed for such a notion as perpetual war," he said.
Kaine said that the American system required the president to get Congress's consent before launching wars, and that it was supposed to be hard to do.
Kaine's remarks aligned with recent remarks from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., while others, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have said that Obama already has all of the authority he needs to act in Iraq.