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Shaheen says Administration must work with Congress on comprehensive strategy to confront, destroy terrorist group

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) questioned top administration officials, U.S. Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, at a Senate Armed Services Committee today on U.S. strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Shaheen, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, specifically pressed the officials on ISIL’s growth and recruiting efforts and the Administration’s response to the families of James Foley and Steven Sotloff while reiterating that the Administration should work with Congress on a specific authorization for its long-term campaign to defeat ISIL.

“The threat ISIL poses was brought home to us in New Hampshire with their barbaric murders of two courageous and inspiring journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff,” Shaheen said. "I sincerely hope no more families find themselves in the position of the Foleys or the Sotloffs, but if any do, we must make sure they can say that the government did everything it could to alleviate their burden.”

Shaheen continued, “We must hold ISIL accountable for their despicable and cowardly acts of terrorism and confront them with a serious, comprehensive strategy that includes strong U.S. leadership of an international coalition, increased assistance to partner forces battling ISIL on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border, and intensified efforts to deny the group access to the funding and the foreign fighters that sustain its operations and pose the greatest threat to the United States.” She added, “It would be a mistake for the president not to come to Congress for a separate and specific Authorization of the Use of Military Force for a long-term campaign against ISIL.  Only Congress can provide the authorization and bipartisan political support required in this fight.”

Last week, Shaheen introduced a unanimously approved bipartisan resolution honoring the lives of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and condemning ISIL. Shaheen is also working with Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) on a bipartisan bill authorizing up to $10 million in rewards for information leading up to the arrest and conviction of any individuals involved in the kidnapping and murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Tomorrow, Shaheen will attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the U.S. Strategy to defeat ISIL.