While the east coast was shut down during a snowstorm, a bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that would give an almost unlimited authorization for the Authorized Use of Military Force (AUMF) was quietly pushed through to the Senate on Jan. 20, 2016. The reasoning behind the bill is to give the president of the United States unlimited maneuverability in fighting ISIS both here and abroad. If this bill passes, Congress and the Senate will have given the president an extreme amount of power. Graham’s legislation hasn’t been scheduled for floor time, but the South Carolina Republican said Thursday that a debate should happen “as soon as possible.” (Carney, 2016) It will bypass the normal committee by filing it under Rule 14, and could go to the Senate soon.

The proposed AUMF bill gives the president an extreme amount of power and basically rewrites the War Powers Clause of the United States Constitution. It was pushed through around the same time that a house-approved bill regarding refugees from Syria and Iraq hit the Senate floor. However, the Senate democrats blocked voting on the refugee bill. The refugee bill would have essentially frozen the acceptance of all Iraqi and Syrian refugees entering the United States until a vetting process could be developed to reduce the ISIS threat domestically. The new AUMF bill may not be necessary if a refugee bill such as this actually passed both the House and Senate.

Each governor has the ability to declare martial law in times of emergency, utilizing local law enforcement and their state’s National Guard troops. With this new AUMF bill, the president can declare federal martial law in response to a terrorist threat or event. This can only muddy the water and create issues with jurisdiction during moments of chaos. The United States has declared federal martial law twice in its history (during the Civil War and regionally, along the Pacific coast, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor).

The FBI already enables the United States to combat the ISIS threat without declaring federal martial law or utilizing active-duty military. The FBI’s mission is to develop and act on valuable intelligence in order to stop threats domestically. This already includes the threat of ISIS. The FBI has stopped multiple terrorist plots and attacks since 9/11.