Democratic Sen. Chris Coons told reporters Wednesday that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "did not specifically reject" the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) Senators Tim Kaine and Jeff Flake have proposed in a classified Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the current AUMF. The proposed AUMF would address fighting ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.
Kaine said the administration is "very open to the idea of working towards an authorization."
Why it matters: The proposal would repeal and replace the 2001 AUMF approved under George W. Bush, which administrations since have been using as the legal basis for military activities in the Middle East. Critics have raised concerns about whether this gives the administration carte blanche to operate without restraint in the Middle East, but the balancing act, as Kaine put it, is "The executive shouldn't start a war without Congress authorizing…Congress...shouldn't micromanage."