President Obama said Wednesday that Gen. Lloyd Austin will join him in lobbying the lame duck Congress for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) bill to deal with the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Obama said Austin, head of the U.S. Central Command, would make a presentation and answer questions for incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the Democrats’ leaders at a White House meeting Friday.
Congress passed the initial AUMF bill shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks to give the president broad powers to take action against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Obama began arguing last year for Congress to work with him on efforts to "refine and ultimately repeal" the AUMF. He said his current focus was on enacting a new AUMF to "suit the current fight rather than previous fights."
Obama also said that increased efforts to contain the Ebola virus at home and overseas were another priority in his agenda for the lame duck session.
Obama was asking Congress for $6.2 billion in emergency funding, with about $2 billion going to the U.S. Agency for International Development and another $2.4 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Associated Press reported.
More than $1.5 billion would go to a contingency fund to protect against new outbreaks in West Africa and the military would get an additional $112 million for its effort to combat the virus.
Currently, there are about 1,700 U.S. troops in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that as many as 4,000 could be deployed.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@military.com