Washington, DC – Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a landmark bill to repeal and replace the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which authorized counterterrorism operations by U.S. military forces against those responsible for 9/11. Global in scope and with no sunset, the 2001 AUMF has been used over the course of four Administrations to authorize U.S. military operations across 22 countries, far beyond Congress’ original intent to authorize operations against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
The repeal and replace bill would narrow the scope of the 2001 AUMF to certain terrorist hotspots. The legislation is the result of a Member taskforce after rigorous engagement with experts and stakeholders, and numerous hearings and oversight conducted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Original cosponsors include Representatives: André Carson (D-IN), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Colin Allred (D-TX), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), and Jason Crow (D-CO).
“For too long, Congress has abdicated its constitutional prerogative over issues of war and peace to the Executive Branch, allowing administration after administration to engage the United States in forever wars,” said Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks. “My legislation would repeal and replace the broad and open-ended 2001 AUMF, replacing it with one that is specific to known terrorist hotspots, and includes a sunset provision. As Members of Congress, it is our Constitutional responsibility to make decisions on matters of war. It is past time we fully embrace that solemn duty and reclaim our Article 1 authority.”
A PDF of the bill can be found here. The legislation would:
Repeal the 2001 AUMF
Create a narrow authorization specific to terrorist hotspots
ISIS in hotspot countries (Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan)
Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan
Include a sunset to the new AUMF
“This long-overdue legislation will ensure Congress is intentional and targeted in our counterterrorism efforts,” said Congressman André Carson. “Much has changed since the passage of the AUMF in 2001, and we must keep our focus on terrorist hotspots that are a threat to our national security today.”
“The Constitution vests Congress with the power to declare war, but, for too long the 2001 AUMF has served as a blank check for presidents from both parties to wage war around the world,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “It is long overdue for Congress to repeal and replace this authorization. I am proud to help introduce this legislation which empowers the president to combat terrorism without providing free rein for endless wars.”
“We have been at war in the Middle East for decades and our armed forces continue to risk their lives under AUMFs that my predecessors in Congress passed almost a generation ago,” said Congressman Dean Phillips. “Congress must reassert its authority on war authorization and be willing to engage in meaningful yet challenging conversations to ensure that the President and our military have the tools necessary to address the multitude of geopolitical challenges and transnational threats the U.S. faces. I am pleased to join Ranking Member Meeks and my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to introduce legislation that brings us closer to this goal.”
“Congress must re-assert itself on foreign policy and that includes war powers and the authorization to use our military,” said Congressman Colin Allred. “This legislation takes a long overdue step to repeal the more than 20-year-old AUMF from 2001 while ensuring our military and the President have the tools they need to continue to fight the threat of terrorism across the globe. I am proud to join Ranking Member Meeks and my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on this important legislation.”
“The decision to send US servicemembers into harm’s way is the most profound and solemn responsibility and should only be done in the most vital cases,” said Congressman Andy Kim. “It has been a disservice to our brave servicemembers to use a decades old authorization as our basis for military engagement. Congress must act and be as precise as possible about the potential force we will call upon of servicemembers to use.”
“The American people are tired of forever wars. The choice of whether to send our sons and daughters to fight deserves careful consideration and is a constitutional duty assigned to Congress,” said Congresswoman Madeleine Dean. “By repealing and replacing this outdated AUMF, we return this responsibility to Congress – where the public can have a say in decisions of war.”
“Afghanistan taught us that America should never fight wars without constant debate and accountability,” said Congressman Jason Crow. “The Constitution gives Congress the authority over matters of war and peace, and it’s time we take that authority back. If any president wants to send our men and women to fight, Congress must first debate and decide.”