Coffman, Gallego, Bacon & Panetta Introduce New Authorization for Use of Military Force Bill

Such Vote Has Not Occurred in Over a Decade

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Washington, October 12, 2017 | Daniel Bucheli (202-225-7882) | comments

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Don Bacon (R-NE) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), in a strong bipartisan effort, have introduced H. J.Res. 118, a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), to provide clear Congressional authorization guidelines for the use of military force.

“The threats we face today are far different than those we faced over a decade ago, and this legislation reflects Congress’s Constitutional role in authorizing the use of military force against terrorist organizations,” said Coffman.

The purpose of an AUMF is to update and clearly define the authority the President has to pursue military action against hostile actors. The last AUMFs were enacted against the backdrop of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the events preceding the Iraq War 16 years ago. The updated AUMF would authorize the use of the U.S. Armed Forces for five years against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and any persons associated with these groups, but would specifically prohibit use of military force against nations without additional authorization from Congress.

“For too long, Congress has allowed our armed forces to be used with ever more tenuous links to a vague and obsolete Authorization of Military Force. This bill would refocus our efforts against terrorism and prevent the unauthorized use of our military against other countries or people,said Gallego.

Specifically, this AUMF also requires the President to submit a set of regular reports to Congress on the progress of ongoing conflicts, contains a 5-year sunset clause, and provides for a full replacement of the previous AUMF. The new AUMF also makes clear the use of force against other persons, entities, or nations will require a further act of Congress.

“Article One of the Constitution bestows on Congress the authority to declare war and Congress needs to do its job,” said Bacon. “Our military must know it has the support of the American citizens we represent and that support is reflected by Congress debating and voting on the use of lethal military force.”

In an October 3, 2017, House Armed Services Committee Hearing, the sitting Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, stated the following in support of a new AUMF, “And as far as the AUMF goes, my point is that we need the unity of the American government and with the Congress involved that brings the unity of the American people to this fight… I think there has got to be -- the U.S. Congress has got to embrace this as our fight. We're all in this…”

“Both the 2001 authorization for use of military force following the 9/11 attacks and the 2002 authorization for use of military force against Iraq are outdated and need to be replaced. In order to best meet the current national security interests of our country, Congress must pass a new and narrow authorization focused on the threat posed by al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS,” said Panetta. “With this bipartisan legislation, we can meet our obligation to provide our service members with clear guidance as they fight to keep us safe. We can also provide our constituents the assurance that, no matter who our commander-in-chief is, Congress will assert its constitutional authority to define the use of our military force around the world.”

H.J. Res. 118, the “Authorization for use of Military Force against Al-Qaeda, The Taliban, and ISIS” will now be referred to the appropriate committee for legislative consideration.

You can read a copy of the new, bipartisan, AUMF bill HERE.

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