Senators to press Tillerson and Mattis on new war authority

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WASHINGTON —  U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to tell lawmakers that the administration doesn’t believe a new war powers resolution is necessary.

But Tillerson will say that if Congress does pursue a new authorization, it’s imperative that the 2001 law that currently authorizes U.S. troops to fight terrorist groups not be rescinded until the new authorization is fully in place.

A State Department official says Tillerson will also emphasize that any new war authorization, like the existing one, should not have any geographic or time restrictions placed on the use of force. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the arguments ahead of the hearing and requested anonymity.

Sen. Ben Cardin in particular has pushed for restrictions to be built into any replacement resolution. Cardin is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are testifying on Monday.