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Senate Rejects Paul’s AUMF Amendment

There was a Senate vote on Rand Paul’s amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act earlier today. The amendment would have repealed the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs after six months. The Senate voted to table [1] (i.e., kill) the amendment 61-36. Mike Lee of Utah and Dean Heller of Nevada were the only other Republicans voting nay with Paul to keep the amendment alive. 31 Democrats and 2 independents made up the bulk of the members voting nay. Eleven Democrats voted with the Republican majority to kill the amendment. Three senators did not vote.

Some of the opponents of the amendment professed to be willing to consider a new, updated authorization, but said [2] that a new authorization couldn’t be crafted in the six-month window afforded by the amendment:

But opponents of the measure argued repealing the two war resolutions on such a quick timeline would endanger military operations in Afghanistan and against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and send mixed signals to U.S. troops and allies overseas.

“I did not expect that 16 years later we would still be engaged in the evolution of that fight that began on 9/11,” said Senate Armed Services ranking Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island. “But we cannot, I think, simply stop, threaten to pull back our legal framework with the expectation that in six months we will produce a new and more appropriate authorization for the use of military force.”

Frankly, the complaint that there isn’t enough time to draft and debate a new AUMF is absurd. There is more than enough time to do it if the members considered it a priority, and by hiding behind such thin excuses it is obvious enough that they don’t think it should be one. The original 2001 AUMF was drawn up in a matter of days, so it shouldn’t be so difficult to manage to find a suitable replacement for it in half a year. Indeed, the only way that Congress might be forced to act on this is if the existing AUMFs expired, so leaving them in place just encourages members to abdicate their role in the process. When opponents of Sen. Paul’s amendment claim that there isn’t time to come up with a replacement for the 2001 AUMF, they are really saying that they can’t be bothered to spend their time on it. That’s a weak and unacceptable excuse for shirking their responsibilities.

The result of the Senate vote was disappointing, but Sen. Paul deserves credit for making the vote happen in the first place. At least now Americans have a better idea where their senators stand on the question of permitting endless war without Congressional authorization.

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Senate Rejects Paul’s AUMF Amendment"

#1 Comment By Makeshift Bunker On September 13, 2017 @ 7:17 pm

“Frankly, the complaint that there isn’t enough time to draft and debate a new AUMF is absurd. There is more than enough time to do it if the members considered it a priority, and by hiding behind such thin excuses it is obvious enough that they don’t think it should be one. “

What disgusting little cowards they are.

Not enough time to do their jobs, eh?

Constitutional war powers can wait while they do the really important business of government, like failing to control the deficit, letting NSA spy on Americans, and giving so much money to Israel that there wasn’t enough left to build Trump’s wall.

#2 Comment By Tomonthebeach On September 14, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

Remember when Bush and the Republicans were criticizing the Dems for “Nation Building” as evidence that they were deluded fools? Then remember when he took down Iraq in a matter of days and declared victory?

Then remember when instead of packing up and letting the region sort out its mess just like Bush the candidate advocated, he went right into nation-building like a kid with a giant box of Legos? Ever since, we have been needlessly sacrificing soldiers for a lost cause. Rand Paul seems to be one of the few grown-up voices on the Hill calling for an admission that our Middle-East adventure has been an abject disaster for the entire world – not just the USA – and we should cut our losses, sadder but hopefully wiser.

#3 Comment By Michael J. Machnica On September 15, 2017 @ 8:45 pm

They easily found enough time to draft and pass with an overwhelming vote additional sanctions on N.Korea, Iran and Russia a little while ago. Why President Trump did not just let it sit on his desk without signing it is beyond me.

More recently they voted on exempting all autonomous self-driving cars from a myriad of safety regulations. I guess Google’s weekly visits to the Obama White House were not in vain.