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House Appropriations Moves Forward with Repeal of Military Force Authorization

Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee introduced the amendment during budget markups. The GOP-controlled committee adopted the measure in a surprise move.

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday took a huge step toward dialing down American military involvement in the Middle East by including a repeal of the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that had provided the legal justification for the United States’ 16-year “War on Terrorism.”

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-TX), would repeal the AUMF “240 days after the date of the enactment” of the Defense Appropriations Bill.

Since the September 11 attacks in 2001, Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump have used the authorization to conduct military operations against al-Qaeda and its successor organizations, like ISIS.

Without the AUMF, the executive branch would no longer hold legal justification to continue military operations against terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

A House Appropriations aide confirmed to a Politico reporter that the amendment would repeal the AUMF, if enacted:

If the Defense Appropriations Bill passes, Congress would have 240 days to approve a new AUMF before U.S. military operations against terrorist targets become illegal.