On May 21, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would sunset the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) after 240 days. This is the most significant vote yet in favor of repealing the legislation that started the United States’ so-called “forever wars.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), the only member of Congress to vote against the 2001 AUMF when it was passed after the 9/11 attacks, introduced the amendment, which passed through Committee on a party-line vote of 30-22. The bill will now be considered by the full House. The need to repeal this overbroad authorization is more urgent than ever, particularly in light of the administration’s recent escalation of tensions with Iran and signs that they may use the 2001 AUMF to justify yet another war.
Fortunately, as FCNL’s Legislative Director for Militarism and Human Rights Heather Brandon-Smith wrote in a recent article, “the current composition of Congress provides a genuine prospect that the amendment will pass… on the House floor.”
On Wednesday morning, Rep. Lee gathered with several members of Congress and peace advocates for a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol to call for repeal of the 2001 AUMF and an end to the rising tensions with Iran. Reps. Schakowsky (IL-9), Ruppersberger (MD-2), McNerney (CA-9), and Massie (KY-4), along with FCNL’s Executive Secretary Diane Randall and Win Without War’s Advocacy Director Erica Fein, spoke movingly of the need for bipartisan congressional action to repeal the 2001 AUMF, which has upended our constitutional system of checks and balances and unnecessarily sent troops into harm’s way.
“This effort isn’t only about ensuring that war is not waged without permission,” said Randall. “It’s about ensuring that war is not waged at all.”
The journey to a world free of war and the threat of war is long and difficult. But today, we are one step closer.