On Thursday, while most political and media figures were obsessing over Facelift-Gate, the House Appropriations Committee held a vote that could have long-standing repercussions for American foreign policy. In a voice vote that sounded completely one-sided, the Committee elected to repeal the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF). In case you’re not familiar with this, it’s the legal basis that Presidents have relied on to conduct the War on Terror.
Under normal circumstances, a President needs approval from Congress to go to war. The AUMF circumvented that by giving the President authority to carry out strikes after September 11. The AUMF has been used for attacks in 14 different countries—including the Iraq war and strikes against ISIS—since it passage on September 14, 2001.
The amendment of the Defense Appropriations Bill that would repeal AUMF was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only person who voted against the AUMF in 2001.
“This should be bipartisan, this is about our country, this is about our troops, this is about Congress and our constitutional ability to do our job,” Lee said, calling the AUMF “overly broad.”
The only opposition to Lee’s repeal amendment came from Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Chairwoman of the defense subcommittee. “The amendment is a deal breaker and would tie the hands of the U.S. to act unilaterally or with partner nations with regard to al Qaeda and … affiliated terrorism. It cripples our ability to conduct counterterrorism operations,” Granger said, according to The Hill.
Lee’s amendment now goes to the House as a whole, and would also have to be approved by the Senate. If approved, it says that won’t go into effect until 240 days after it’s enacted, but it would apply to “each operation or other action” carried out under the AUMF before then.
[Image via screengrab]