Congress Considers Rewriting the Post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force

Latest News: In wake of Syria strikes, lawmakers seek updated war authorization

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill Monday meant to bring an nearly two-decade-old war authorization up to date, a move that some lawmakers have been demanding for years but which has received renewed interest after recent military action in Syria.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress want to update the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force that granted President George W. Bush the power to go after al Qaeda and other worldwide terrorist organizations.

U.S. Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced Monday legislation to update the authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs) against non-state terrorist groups overseas. There are a couple of noticeable differences in Corker/Kaine's bill, including that it specifically names the terror groups the US military can engage, which includes al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, and others.

U.S. forces have largely been operating under this so-called AUMF (authorization for use of military force) even though the Pentagon's mission has grown far beyond what was envisioned in the early days of hunting Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

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The Corker-Kaine AUMF doesn't limit President Trump's blank check for war. "The last thing President Trump needs is a renewed open-ended authorization that gives him a blank check to perpetuate endless war, which is exactly what this proposed bill represents".

The president has to inform Congress of actions, Congress then includes a 60-day window to try to eradicate the presidentrsquo;s power of military power.

There is mounting support in Congress to revisit the aging war-powers authorizations, as more moderate lawmakers join liberals and libertarians in their concern over what three presidents have largely taken as carte blanche for military action. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a cosponsor of the Corker-Kaine AUMF, said this new bill might not be flawless, but it has more time constraints than the current AUMF.

While a certain bloc of senators has long called for an updated authorization, it is the Trump administration's recent airstrikes against the Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons - which would not immediately be covered under this new AUMF - that have arguably been the biggest factor in reigniting this public debate. "We did what we believe was right under worldwide law, under our nation's laws".

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