The White House will release legislative language "authorizing" President Obama's war in Iraq "relatively soon," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Thursday.
"I would anticipate that we will have specific language that we'll submit to Capitol Hill relatively soon," Earnest said, Asked if said language could come as early as Friday, Earnest replied, "I wouldn't necessarily rule it out. I don't think it is going to be tomorrow but these kinds of plans often have a way of changing, so relatively soon is the best guidance I can offer."
The White House has repeatedly referred to the upcoming legislative language as an "Authorization for Use of Military Force," but the White House also claims Obama's war in Iraq needs no new authorization from Congress.
"The fact is that the president does believe that the military course that he has already ordered was already authorized by the United States Congress under the 2001 AUMF," Earnest said in response to a question suggesting that Obama "needed" a new AUMF.
"So this is not a matter of legal necessity," Earnest continued. "It is a matter however, of the president's desire to send a very clear signal to the people of this country, to our allies, and to our enemies that the United States of America and our political system is united behind the strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL that the president has laid out."
Earnest did leave open the possibility that the new language could repeal the 2002 AUMF that President Bush secured from Congress before he began his war in Iraq. "I think the president has made the case previously that he does support the repeal of the 2002 AUMF," Earnest said. "And this is in the context of a speech that he gave a year or two ago talking about the need to review some of these policies that have the unintended effect of keeping the United States on sort of this permanent war footing."
Earnest did not say if Obama would also seek repeal of the 2001 AUMF that he is currently using to justify his own bombing campaign in Iraq.