U.S. President Barack Obama will propose to Congress on Wednesday a new three-year authorization for the use of force against Islamic State with limits on U.S. combat troops' involvement, lawmakers and congressional aides said, Reuters reported.
Obama has defended his authority to lead an international coalition against Islamic State since Aug. 8 when U.S. fighter jets began attacking the jihadists in Iraq. But he has faced criticism for failing to seek the backing of Congress, where some accuse him of breaching his constitutional authority.
Facing pressure to let lawmakers weigh in on an issue as important as the deployment of troops and chastened by elections that handed power in Congress to Republicans, he said in November he would request formal authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).
An outline of that request, expected to be handed to Congress on Wednesday, could stir debate over how U.S. troops should be deployed and the extent of U.S. engagement in Iraq and Syria.
The proposal would allow the use of special forces and advisors for defensive purposes but bar "enduring offensive ground forces," lawmakers and aides said. It would not, however, set geographic limits for the campaign against the group.
Until now, Obama has justified U.S. air strikes in Iraq and Syria under a 2001 authorization passed after the Sept. 11 attacks and a 2002 authorization used by President George W. Bush in the Iraq war.
The new proposal would repeal the 2002 authorization but leave in place the 2001 AUMF, which has been invoked by the White House to carry out drone and missile strikes against suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen and Somalia.