Barbara Lee on House Floor Over Removal of AUMF Amendment - Unlimited War Power for Incompetent President

This above floor speech features Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee talking about the 2018 defense spending bill this week. Lee denounced the removal of her amendment to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force from the bill. AUMF was originally passed after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and and granted the President authority to use force against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated groups. At the time, Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against it in 2001. [MORE]

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. 107-40, codified at 115 Stat. 224 and passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 and any "associated forces". The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.

The AUMF was signed by President George W. Bush on September 18, 2001. As of December 2016, the Office of the President published a brief interpreting the AUMF as providing Congressional authorization for the use of force against al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups.

On June 29, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee approved Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment to repeal the 2001 authorization for the use of military force that was the foundation of the U.S.’s post-September 11 military actions. The amendment requires that the 2001 authorization for the use of military force be scrapped within 240 days. This amendment was removed from the bill by the Rules Committee so the AUMF remains in effect. [MORE]

From [HERE] Rep. Barbara Lee on Wednesday vowed to take her long-time efforts to repeal the current Authorization for Use of Military Force, which dates to 2001 but is used for a wide range of conflicts now, to the House Foreign Affairs Committee after Republican leaders removed it from a spending bill the California Democrat successfully attached the repeal to.  

But Republican leadership opted on Tuesday to strike that language from the spending bill because they determined it was an authorizing provision under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Lee amendment could have been considered legislation on an appropriations bill and therefore been subject to a point of order during floor debate, a senior GOP aide said.

Lee’s amendment was substituted with language in the House-passed fiscal 2018 defense authorization bill that was added as an amendment by Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole, who also supported Lee’s amendment.

The Defense spending bill reported by the Appropriations Committee is part of a four-bill spending package headed to the House floor next week. Cole told reporters Wednesday he was called by GOP leadership to offer his amendment and that he knew the Appropriations Committee, which he also serves on, did not have jurisdiction on the matter when that panel voted for the amendment. Lee reiterated the same notion.

“Every now and then you do things knowing that you can be corrected to draw attention to the issue and that was my purpose,” Cole said. “We may not have gotten the AUMF vote but we certainly did get some attention and refocused maybe leadership and the relevant committees on their job.”

Lee said she had spoken to Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, who expressed support for AUMF repeal but that she had not spoken to him since the language was removed Tuesday. Lee said she would get a “free standing” repeal of AUMF to Foreign Affairs but did not provide a timeline on when she would do so. [MORE