Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday proposed a resolution that would have Congress officially declare war against the Islamic State, and also cites key portions of U.S. history showing that the Founding Fathers wanted Congress to be the body that declares war.
Congress agreed to let the Obama administration take some initial steps to fight the Islamic State, but most Republicans and Democrats agree that a formal authorization from Congress is needed for the longer term.
Paul's resolution goes a bit further by formally declaring war, although it noted that the Islamic State declared war first, and that a state of war "has been thrust upon the United States."
The resolution also makes a few key findings that show the drafters of the Constitution wanted to be sure that Congress initiates war, not the White House.
"President George Washington, who presided over the Constitutional Convention, lectured: 'The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress. Therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure,' " it said.
It also reminded Congress that James Madison once wrote to Thomas Jefferson to warn that "the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature."
Madison also once wrote that "the declaring of war is expressly made a legislative function," according to Paul's resolution.
The legislation would grant Obama the authority to use the Armed Forces against the Islamic State. However, it stressed that nothing in the language authorizes the use of ground forces, unless it is to rescue U.S. forces, engage in operations against "high value targets," or for advisory or intelligence gathering reasons.
It also repeals the authorization for use of military force passed in 2002 for Iraq, and would have the 2001 authorization for Afghanistan expire after a year.
Read Paul's language here: