Oct 20, 2017

Mattis, Tillerson to publicly testify about new AUMF

Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting flanked by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (right) and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left). Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced it will host Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for a public hearing about passing a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF). Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump have all used a broad 2001 AUMF to justify military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

After Mattis and Tillerson participated in a closed-door session with senators this August, Senator Tim Kaine said they "did not specifically reject" a new AUMF. Rand Paul's proposal to repeal the 2001 AUMF was shot down by a 61-36 vote.

Be smart: Senator Chris Murphy, who sits on the committee, views passing a new AUMF as a way to signal to Trump he can't take action on North Korea without congressional approval.

Senator Tim Kaine said in a statement that the "questions surrounding the death of American service members in Niger show the urgent need to have a public discussion about the current extent of our military operations around the world," and said he thinks a new AUMF can be better formulated to address non-state actors.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's comments about the federal government's stockpile of medical equipment suggest he "does not understand the word 'federal.'"

Why it matters: White House adviser Jared Kushner argued at a press briefing last week that the "notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile; it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."