Senate Defeats Measure to Repeal AUMF

Rand Paul's bid to repeal congressional authorization for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan failed to get off the ground Wednesday, but more than a third of lawmakers showed their support for the Kentucky Republican's move. Critics like Paul have said its ambiguity allows the president to take over Congress' constitutionally outlined role in declaring war. "Senator Paul's amendment, had it been approved, would have provided the much-needed push for Congress to uphold its constitutional duty to authorize war, and to limit the use of extraordinary wartime powers to kill and detain".

Republican Senator Rand Paul, a vocal anti-war libertarian, is trying to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, removing war resolutions passed in 2001 and 2002 that have given the USA widespread clearance to launch worldwide conflicts, including the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq, two countries in which the US continues to maintain an active military presence.

The opposition to Paul's amendment was bipartisan.

But Paul could find support in both parties from the corner of the Capitol that has been pressing for a new war authorization since the U.S. began military operations against ISIS in 2014.

I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared, and unconstitutional war. Known as an Authorization for Use of Military Force or AUMF, the measure passed three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and allows the president to go to war against people and countries responsible for the attacks as well as "associated forces".

Paul says inaction by Congress is letting the White House unilaterally commit the nation to war.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said lawmakers have the responsibility to debate because the 2001 authorization passed nearly unanimously to fight the perpetrators of 9/11 in Afghanistan no longer applies to military operations 16 years later.


Democrats comprised the bulk of the vote to support Paul's amendment, with Sens.

"Sen. Paul's amendment gives us that opportunity by saying the '01 and '02 authorizations need to end", Cardin said.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who has joined forces with Arizona Republican Sen.

While he'd hoped this would bring in support not only from opponents of the war, but from hawks eager to get their votes on the record to authorize these many, effectively unauthorized wars, little support ultimately materialized.

Among those critical of the amendment were Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), John McCain (R-AZ), and Bob Corker (R-TN).

WASHINGTON ― The Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposal to repeal the sweeping authorizations for war passed by Congress in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

  • Tracy Klein