Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D – CA) efforts to repeal the 2001 Authorization on the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which the Bush and Obama Administrations have used as the legal cover for virtually all military operations since, failed today in a 191-233 vote.
The bill had initially been seen as having some administration support, but that myth evaporated after yesterday’s fiasco in the Senate, where officials argued the AUMF had nothing to do with anything, and that President Obama would attack whomever he pleased, whenever he pleased. The officials came out for vague, non-specific changes to AUMF, but not for repeal.
This led hawks to angrily condemn Rep. Schiff’s bill, with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) accusing him of having “forgotten” 9/11. The Senate’s AUMF efforts don’t look promising either, with some now arguing in favor of “revisions” that would greatly expand the war powers to authorize President Obama’s attacks on groups not even cursorily linked to al-Qaeda.
Underscoring just how little appetite there is for even the illusion of change, Rep. Adam Smith (D – WA) introduced an amendment to allow transfer of Gitmo detainees, something President Obama demanded, and that too was rejected. The White House had threatened a veto if they didn’t get this, but where they stand now is unclear.
In the end, the $601 billion military spending bill, which was bigger than even the Pentagon sought, passed easily in a 325-98 vote, and is now just waiting for the Senate to come up with their version, so they can reconcile the two.