1. Press Release
  2. U.S. Wars & Militarism

AUMF Repeal A Step Forward for Peace

By Timothy McHugh, May 21, 2019


Washington, DC – Today, the House Appropriations Committee voted for an amendment from Representative Barbara Lee (CA) to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Designed to take effect after eight months, the Congress would need to pass a new AUMF or the Administration would need to remove American military personnel from current wars during that timeframe.

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, media@fcnl.org; 202-903-2515

“A nearly 18-year-old, all but limitless authorization for war is neither a responsible nor a sustainable foundation for our national security or national security policy,” said FCNL Executive Secretary Diane Randall. “Repealing the 2001 AUMF would serve as a significant step forward toward reining in never-ending war and militarism abroad. It also makes certain that our elected leaders are on record for which wars they support and which wars they do not.”

The United States has conducted counterterrorism operations in 80 countries since 2001—including combat in 14. During that same period of time, some 7,000 American service members have been killed. Representative Lee’s amendment would help bring to an end nearly 18 years of never-ending war.

“For going on 18 years, three presidents have used the 2001 AUMF as a blank check for endless war around the globe. These wars have cost $5.9 trillion and resulted in the deaths of approximately 500,000 people,” explained Heather Brandon-Smith, FCNL’s Militarism and Human Rights Legislative Director. “This over-militarized approach to terrorism has clearly failed. In fact, there are now more terrorist groups than on 9/11 and the Afghan Taliban controls more territory than at any time since 2001.”

The 2001 AUMF has no geographic restrictions, no time limit, and no constraints on which kinds of force may be used. It does not clearly name the groups with whom the U.S is at war. Each administration since it passed has cited the AUMF as the legal basis for military operations abroad without congressional approval.

FCNL Advocacy Teams, more than fifteen hundred constituents in roughly 100 teams throughout the country, have been working on AUMF repeal since January. Their advocacy has been focused on building co-sponsorship of the amendment and will continue to do so as momentum for its full passage grows. In 2017, a similar amendment to that year’s appropriations bill passed in committee but then-Speaker Paul Ryan removed the provision before the full House voted.

To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.

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Timothy McHugh

  • Director of Media Relations

Tim leads organizational efforts to communicate about issues, victories, priorities, and updates through all available news channels – specifically the major media outlets. He is responsible for providing FCNL staff with opportunities to convey our message – in print and through the airways – to the public and throughout the country. He keeps FCNL issues and staff on the collective radars of reporters and journalists nationwide. Lastly, he runs FCNL several media-focused social media channels.