Senate votes down Paul’s bid to revoke war authorizations
The Senate has rejected a measure from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to sunset two war bills and force a debate on what war powers President Trump should have.
Senators voted 61-36 Wednesday to table an amendment from the Kentucky Republican to get rid of the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Paul wanted to attach a six-month sunset of the two war bills to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that is moving through the Senate. The 2001 AUMF was approved the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, while the 2002 AUMF authorized the Iraq War.
Paul warned that voting against his resolution was voting to let the president do “whatever he wants.”
“What I would say to my colleagues is, let’s do your job. This is your constitutional role. Let’s let these expire, and over the next six months, let’s debate whether we should be at war and where,” Paul said.
The vote, which marks the first time the full Senate has held an AUMF vote since 2002, created strange political bedfellows. In addition to Paul, supporters of the bill included Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
“It’s been 16 yrs since Congress passed the existing AUMF after 9/11, but yr after yr, Congress refuses to re-examine this outdated policy. …It’s long past time for Congress to do right by our troops & the American people,” Warren said on Twitter, announcing her support.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who like Warren is seen as a possible White House candidate in 2020, added from the Senate floor that, “It’s time for us to sunset these authorizations. And I do think that we will be able with that pressure to be able to come up with a new authorization.”
But the measure faced long odds of being added to the NDAA, with leadership and key senators coming out against it ahead of the vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Paul’s move would “leave nothing but uncertainty” for the military and be “simply irresponsible.”
“Sixteen years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, our enemies aren’t gone and our troops are still in harm’s way,” he said from the Senate floor.
Both Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) came out in opposition to the measure.
“I agree that we need to take action on an AUMF. …I am all for updating. Our committee intends to do so,” Corker said.
Senators on both sides of the aisle have for years been pushing for Congress to hold a vote on whether they should sunset the 2001 or 2002 war authorizations, or pass a new AUMF to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
But deep policy and political divisions have repeatedly stymied congressional efforts.
Kaine and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), two of the most vocal supporters for passing a new AUMF, introduced a new war bill earlier this year, but that measure is stuck in the Foreign Relations Committee.
The panel held a closed-door meeting with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month to get their prospective on a new war bill.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.