On Tuesday, Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), hosted a bipartisan hearing on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that for 17 years has been used to exercise executive military action abroad under multiple presidential administrations.
The hearing focused the congressional caucus members’ desire to repeal the 2001 AUMF, hold a congressional debate and vote on a new authorization. The hearing was composed of members from both the House Liberty Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The caucuses say the vote on war isn’t a partisan issue.
“The overly broad and outdated AUMF represents a critical deterioration of congressional oversight of military operations,” a press release from Rep. Amash for the ad-hoc hearing read.
“While our brave servicemen and women are deployed around the world in combat zones, Congress has failed to do its constitutional duty,” he said. “In this hearing, members of Congress and the public will hear from experts on the impact of the 2001 AUMF on global security and discuss potential frameworks for a new military authorization.”
While the AUMF began as a retaliation against the 9/11 attackers in 2011, Amash and his colleagues argue the authorization has since been stretched to justify never-ending foreign wars.
President Trump’s administration seems to suggest that the 2001 AUMF justifies an indefinite U.S. military presence in Syria indefinitely, even after the defeat of ISIS.
Amash says the authorization is allowing presidents to bypass congressional authority when it comes to declaring war.
“Though modern presidents like to ignore this point, the Framers were quite clear that the president isn’t to decide when or why we go to war.” Amash said.
Rep. Lee agrees, noting that “[t]he Constitution is clear: Congress is granted the power to declare war, not the President. Before we become further entrenched in conflicts in Syria, Yemen & Somalia, Congress needs to debate & vote on a new AUMF.”
Amash further implored Congress to reclaim its constitutional war powers, repealing the current AUMF in order to debate and vote on a more-restricted authorization.
“It’s time for Congress to reclaim its constitutional war powers, repeal the 2001 AUMF, and debate and vote on a new, narrowly defined authorization,” he said.
Tuesday’s hearing can be viewed here.