After President Barack Obama called upon Congress for authorization for the use of force against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Colorado’s U.S. senators called for debate on the proposal and to determine the strategy to defeat the terrorist group.
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said he expects to hear various arguments from Democrats and Republicans over the next week and month.
“There is no surprise to the American people that every word is going to be pored over to get the job done,” Gardner said.
Gardner added that the president must not be restricted in his ability to defeat ISIS, and he would be “open” to a conversation about the language to gain bipartisan support.
“I don’t think this is something we should go into one-sided,” Gardner said. “I also think that the tenor and tone of this debate are very important, because if you send the wrong message, if it is overvitriolic, if this becomes an overly partisan issue, the message that sends to our enemies and the message that sends to the terrorists is the wrong message we need to be sending.”
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., also called for a “thoughtful and robust debate” on the proposal.
“Coloradans are rightfully concerned about sending our troops into another conflict,” Bennet said in a statement. “Now that Congress has received the president’s request, we’ll review it and carefully consider the best approach to combatting ISIS, protecting our interests and stabilizing this region of the world.”
The language will be a point of contention between the two parties. While the outline sent to Congress would prohibit “enduring offensive ground forces,” some Democrats, including Sen. Minority Whip Dick Durbin, feel the proposal is too ambiguous and would give the president too much power to bring the United States into another lengthy conflict in the Middle East.
But some Republicans said it would be dangerous for Congress to limit the president’s powers in dealing with ISIS. House Speaker John Boehner said the president should have “all the tools necessary” to destroy ISIS, while Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said it would be “unprecedented” to build in such limitations.
“There is a pretty simple authorization he could ask for, and it would read one sentence: ‘We authorize the president to defeat and destroy ISIL.’ Period. And that’s what I think we should do,” Rubio said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Michael Cipriano is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald.