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House Passes Amendment to Reclaim War Powers

Wide Shot of Capitol Building and American Flag

By Concerned Veterans for America

This week, the House of Representatives voted to take back congressional control of war powers.

The House Minibus Appropriations package, which included appropriations for the Department of Defense with an amendment from Rep. Barbara Lee to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). This amendment would eliminate the often-misinterpreted law that has allowed presidents to send American troops abroad for the past two decades and reassert Congress’ constitutional responsibility to debate and decide when, where and why the military gets deployed.

Concerned Veterans for America Executive Director Nate Anderson said in a statement:

We are extremely pleased to see progress from Congress on reclaiming its constitutional responsibilities by working to repeal the 2001 AUMF…the AUMF repeal amendment is a positive sign for greater accountability in the future.

The 2001 AUMF has been used to justify military operations in dozens of countries in support of the Global War on Terror. However, that was not its intent. Congress originally passed the 2001 AUMF just weeks after 9/11, to allow the U.S. military to track down Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaida and punish the Taliban for allowing al-Qaida to operate and thrive.

Nearly 18 years later, those missions have long been accomplished — bin Laden was killed years ago, and the Pentagon says al-Qaida members are now “focused on their own survival.”

It’s about time the United States repeal the 2001 AUMF, withdraw troops from Afghanistan and start empowering Congress to make military operations decisions — especially when they may put American lives in harm’s way — on a case-by-case basis. Rep. Lee’s amendment is a good start.

CVA has joined forces with VoteVets to encourage Congress to repeal the 2001 AUMF. While we’re usually at odds with one another, both CVA and VoteVets know the heavy cost of deploying troops around the globe. We’re willing to put our differences aside to reshape and rethink foreign policy.

Read more about CVA’s Rethink Foreign Policy efforts.