Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday introduced an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) resolution that, if passed, would authorize President Biden to utilize U.S. forces to defend Ukraine if Russia uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons against its neighbor.
Kinzinger announced the joint resolution during an interview with moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Asked if he thought it was too soon to be discussing potential use of force in Ukraine, Kinzinger said, “No, I don’t.”
“I don’t think we need to be using force in Ukraine right now. I just introduced an AUMF, an authorization for the use of military force, giving the president basically congressional leverage for permission to use it if WMDs [weapons of mass destruction], nuclear, biological or chemical are used in Ukraine,” Kinzinger said.
The congressman said the AUMF would give Biden leverage, adding that the resolution could serve as a deterrent to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Doesn’t compel the president to do it. It just says, if it is used, he has that leverage. It gives him, you know, a better flexibility, but also it is a deterrent to Vladimir Putin,” Kinzinger said.
“If Vladimir Putin wants to escalate with the West, he will. It’s easy for him to do it. And I think right now what we’re doing with supplying, with lend-lease, with the financing is right,” he added.
The Illinois Republican said the U.S. “should be ready” if a situation unfolds in which America must get involved.
“Prior to World War II, there were moments nobody ever wanted to get involved in, eventually came to realize they had to. I hope we don’t get to that point here, but we should be ready if we do,” he said.
The text of Kinzinger’s resolution says that in the event that nuclear, biological or chemical weapons are used, the president can authorize the use of armed forces if he believes such a move is necessary to “protect the national security interests of the United States with respect to Ukraine” and “assist in defending and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
In a separate statement following the announcement of the AUMF, Kinzinger said he was introducing the joint resolution “as a clear redline so the Administration can take appropriate action should Russia use chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons.”
“We must stand up for humanity and we must stand with our allies,” he added.
The introduction of the AUMF comes in the ninth week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24. The U.S. has passed AUMF resolutions in the past, including in 2001 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and in 2002 for the Iraq War.