Paul Ryan, Barbara Lee meet on war authorization

Keren Carrion

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) met Wednesday afternoon to hash out a possible new war authorization to replace a 2001 law that gives the president power to wage war on terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Lee’s office confirmed to The Hill that the two met on the House floor to discuss Lee’s amendment introduced late last month which would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and force Congress to vote on a new bill.

Lee offered the amendment to the House Appropriations defense bill. Surprisingly, both Republicans and Democrats backed Lee’s argument, with the full committee eventually approving the amendment.

GOP leadership, however, was not pleased. Ryan said the amendment was a “mistake” in an interview with Real Clear Politics in late June.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong also confirmed that the two spoke on the House floor, but would not discuss the conversation.

“There is a way to discuss this debate, but this [amendment], which endangers our national security, is not it,” Strong said. 

House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans also said the provision should have been ruled out of order, arguing it violates the House’s rules and should be stripped from the bill.

But Lee appears unwilling to budge on her stance, telling Politico on Tuesday that stripping her amendment from the appropriations bill would be “a slap in the face” to the “democratic process.”

Lee has tried for years to have the 2001 AUMF revoked for a more tailored war authorization bill, and was the only member of Congress to vote against the initial AUMF passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

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