The House Appropriations Committee — Democrats and Republicans, both — voted to revoke a 2001 law giving the president the legal authority to go to war against al-Qaeda and terror-tied affiliates, absent congressional apporval.
THe amendment rescinds the Authorization for the Use of Force, and comes by way of an attachment to the $658 billion Department of Defense spending bill.
Rep. Kay Granger, a Republican from Texas, was the only lawmaker to dissent.
Granger (R-TX), the chairwoman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, argu[ed] that the policy has no place in a spending bill, reports the Hill.
Passed shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. homeland, American presidents have since used the AUMF to justify military action against various jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda foe the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
ISIS was originally an al-Qaeda offshoot, but the terrorist group broke away from Osama bin Laden’s organization in 2014.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the measure, which does have some bipartisan support on the other side of the Capitol from Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The amendment would repeal “the overly broad 2001 Authorization of Use of Military Force, after a period of 8 months after the enactment of this act, giving the administration and Congress sufficient time to decide what measures should replace it,” said the California Democrat.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee questioned its appropriations counterpart’s authority to pass such a measure, saying the panel does not have jurisdiction.
“House Rules state that ‘a provision changing existing law may not be reported in a general appropriation bill.’ The Foreign Affairs Committee has sole jurisdiction over Authorizations for the Use of Military Force,” argued Cory Fritz, the Foreign Affairs panel’s deputy staff director for communications, reports the Hill.
The measure would revoke the AUMF 240 days after the defense appropriations bill is enacted by the full Congress, forcing U.S. lawmakers to pass a new authorization in the interim to continue combating ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their respective affiliates.
Congress has been unable to pass a new AUMF to combat ISIS and al-Qaeda.
After approving the defense spending legislation Thursday, the appropriations committee sent the bill to the House floor for a vote.
Seemingly surprised, Democrat Congresswoman Lee welcomed the approval of her amendment, blasting the AUMF as “a blank check to wage war anywhere, at any time, and for any length.”
Rep. Lee seized the opportunity to condemn President Trump as “erratic” and inexperienced.
“This issue is more urgent given the erratic behavior and inexperience of our current Commander-in-Chief,” declared the lawmaker. “No president should have a blank check for endless war, least of all President Donald Trump.”
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