The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force gave then-President George W. Bush broad authority to pursue militarily “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 global terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons”.
On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee opened the door to ending that 2001 authorization when it added Lee’s amendment to a Defense Department measure.
“I am shocked and deeply troubled by the decision of the House Appropriations Committee to adopt an amendment that rescinds the authority granted by Congress to allow the President to execute the war against terrorism”, said Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
Lee, one of the strongest anti-war voices in Congress, has kept pushing to end the authorization since 2001.
Lee stressed, however, that as long as Congress lets the 2001 AUMF linger, Trump has little or no incentive to seek new legal approval for any military action he orders.
But members are finding new common ground in their disdain for the Trump administration’s latest argument: that recent strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are also covered under the 2001 AUMF.
Committee members broke into applause after the unexpected vote.
“This issue is more urgent given the erratic behaviour and inexperience of our current Commander-in-Chief”, Ms Lee said.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the sole lawmaker to vote against the amendment, said that the legislation did not belong in the appropriations bill and would “cripple our ability to conduct counter terrorism operations against terrorists who pose a threat against the Untied States”.
The measure leaves open the question of what authorization would replace the 2001 AUMF, setting up the prospect of adding a major debate about the USA role in the fight against ISIS to what’s already a packed congressional agenda with health care, tax reform, spending cuts and more. “I’m going to be with you on this… and I think right now that this is what’s important for America and that we need to move forward on this”. The amendment, tagged onto the House Appropriations Committee bill funding the Department of Defense, would repeal the 2001 AUMF almost eight months after the bill is enacted.
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”, she said.