The post-9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against
al-Qaeda offered American presidents broad war-making powers. 17 years
and umpteen wars later, it’s safe to say the presidents have been using
that. The incoming Democratic House of Representatives is looking at
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) says one of his biggest concerns is the blank
check war-making power presidents have had since the AUMF. He said that
when he voted for it “I never would’ve imagined that the president could use it as a sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) concurred, saying it is “constitutionally
absurd” that US wars are still operating on the 9/“ AUMF, saying that
the Constitution gives presidents wide latitude, but that “it is long
past time” for Congress to revisit the issue.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) was quick to note he’d been trying to offer
amendments to limit the wars for years, and that the
Republican-dominated Rules Committee “has routinely denied” them.
McGovern is going to be the new chair of the Rules Committee in January,
and says he expects there will be efforts to force a new AUMF with more
constraints and well-defined authorizations.
That’s an issue many in Congress have talked about for years. The 2001
AUMF is incredibly vague, and when President Obama proposed a
replacement late in his second term, he bragged the replacement was
itself so vague that it would leave him unconstrained. That admission
killed the Obama proposal, but Congress never got around to an
alternative, real AUMF.
Any AUMF would be a highly contentious issue, as presidents have
consistently resisted anything limiting them at all, and there have
historically been enough hawks in the leadership to kill the issue.
This may be an optimum time, with the Democrat leadership eager to
contest Trump, and the 2020 election far enough away now that there will
be fewer calls to defer the issue until after the next vote, something
that’s killed previous proposals throughout the decade.
The post Dems Vow to Curb President’s Post-9/11 War Powers appeared first on News From Antiwar.com.