McConnell challenger McGrath pens op-ed about authorization for the use of military force

Amy McGrath, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE’s (R) Democratic challenger in Kentucky’s Senate race this year, authored a USA Today op-ed Tuesday urging Congress to revise the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) amid increased saber rattling with Iran.

McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, wrote that the U.S. is running on “legislative fumes” 19 years after the AUMF was passed by Congress to give former President George W. Bush the authority to go to war with the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“We cannot tie the hands of this or any future commander in chief in a way that could leave the nation even temporarily defenseless. But that does not mean that this or any president gets a blank check,” McGrath said.

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The 44-year-old also emphasized the importance of Congress expanding its role on Iran, which earlier this month struck Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike.

“It is imperative that Congress get involved in the Iran debate — demand more in-depth intelligence briefings, conduct hearings on potential developments, debate long-term Iran strategies publicly and be forced to cast tough votes — which is why they were elected in the first place,” she wrote.

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McGrath accuses McConnell of “rubber-stamping” the plans “of an impulsive administration without any clear plan or strategy.”

The Senate hopeful concludes her op-ed by saying that the U.S. “deserves leaders who take this responsibility seriously, regardless of political party and regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.”

Following the drone strike in Iraq that killed Soleimani, the House, along party lines, passed a war powers resolution that would prohibit President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE from ordering any further military action against Iran unless American assets were under threat of “imminent” attack.

However, the bill hasn’t gone anywhere in the Senate and isn’t expected to.

The Trump administration cited the 2001 Iraq AUMF as its reasoning for taking out Soleimani, despite Iran’s lack of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.  

—Updated Wednesday at 4:10 p.m.

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