Homeland Preparedness News: Rep. Spanberger introduces bill to put limits on Authorization for Use of Military Force

HOMELAND PREPAREDNESS NEWS, DAVE KOVALESKI

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) is sponsoring a bill that would establish limits on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

The 2001 AUMF — which passed in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks — has been used by presidential administrations to deploy American servicemembers into new countries without a debate or vote in Congress.

Spanbergerʻs bill — the Limit on the Expansion of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act — would reassert Congress’ constitutional role in the declaration of war. It would provide new guardrails by limiting the authorization to countries where there are currently ongoing hostilities. If a president must act to defend the United States in a country where troops are not operating today, the executive branch would be required to follow the procedures laid out in the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

“After decades of prolonged military conflicts overseas with little congressional input, Congress needs to reclaim its authority under the U.S. Constitution to debate future military engagement abroad. Our current process is broken, and this bipartisan bill builds the foundation for reaffirming the Article I powers of Congress,” Spanberger said. “Members of Congress — as the voices of those they represent — should expect to be held accountable for their votes to send U.S. servicemen and women off to war. This much-needed legislation would make sure the nearly 20-year-old AUMF does not continue to expand for the purposes of justifying deployments of U.S. servicemembers into new foreign countries.”

The bill was cosponsored by Reps. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Tom Cole (R-OK), and Don Bacon (R-NE).

“This legislation — supported equally by Democrats and Republicans — lays the foundation for replacing the 2001 AUMF while also protecting our ability to combat terrorism threats around the world and keep American families safe,” Spanberger added. “Our discussions about the future of authorizations for military force must acknowledge the range of threats that exist. We will be in a better position to engage in these conversations after we pause the expansion of the 2001 AUMF — thus reducing executive branch reliance on an outdated authorization — and acknowledge that our existing authorizations are in desperate need of reforms.”

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