In September 2001, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) was the only member of Congress to object to an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, a resolution in response to the terrorist attacks that paved the way for the war in Afghanistan.
In the 16 years since, the resolution has been used by President George W. Bush, President Obama and now President Trump as justification for more than 35 military actions in nearly 20 countries around the world — which means those presidents have not gone back to Congress for new permission to send troops into harm’s way.
Last Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee opened the door to ending that 2001 military authorization when it added Lee’s amendment to a Defense Department measure. Congress would have 240 days to debate a new authorization. At the end of that time the 2001 authorization would be repealed.
Lee has lobbied hard just to get to this first step, which was approved by a voice vote in the Republican led committee.
“I’ve been working on this for years and years and years. I’m just really pleased that Republicans and Democrats today really understood what I’ve been saying and I’ve been explaining for the last 16 years, and that is, this resolution is a blank check for perpetual war,” Lee said.
Committee members broke into applause after the unexpected vote.
Lee said Thursday she plans to personally call Speaker Paul Ryan and make the case for keeping her amendment in the bill when it gets to the House floor.
“The public wants to see a debate,” Lee said. “Our young men and women in harm’s way need to knowwhther their Congress is supporting them and backing them up, or not.”
Story by By Sarah D. Wire, L.A. Times