Ever since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Authorized Use of Military Force Act gave the president the ability to use any military force they deemed necessary. The broad language made Rep. Barara Lee (D-CA) nervous. When she became the only member of Congress to vote against the legislation, she warned that they need to be “careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target.”
The language indeed gives the president a lot of leeway:
“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
On Thursday, after nearly 16 years, the House Appropriations adopted Lee’s amendment, repealing the AUMF. This is a shocking development for two reasons. One, Lee is one of the most liberal representatives in Congress. Two, the House Appropriations Committee, which is primarily made up of Republicans, voted nearly unanimously to repeal it—all of them except Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas.
In a Statement, Lee said:
“At long last, I am pleased that my Democratic and Republican colleagues supported my effort to put an end to the overly broad blank check for war that is the 2001 AUMF. If passed into law as part of the DOD bill, it would repeal the 2001 AUMF eight months after enactment of this legislation. That would allow plenty of time for Congress to finally live up to its constitutional obligation to debate and vote on any new AUMF. It is far past time for Congress to do its job and for the Speaker to allow a debate and vote on this vital national security issue. I am glad that this amendment passed in a bipartisan manner and I look forward to continuing to work to finally have the debate and vote that our service members and our nation deserves.”
This amendment is a severe blow to Trump. One of the reasons he wanted to become president is to “bomb the s**t” out of ISIS. The fact that Republicans are the ones who voted on the amendment may indicate that they don’t trust President Trump with this kind of power.
Whoa. My amdt to sunset 2001 AUMF was adopted in DOD Approps markup! GOP & Dems agree: a floor debate & vote on endless war is long overdue. pic.twitter.com/FS8LfYWo5J
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) June 29, 2017