Pentagon Budget Bill Would End 2001 War Authorization

Bill aims to curb president's powers to unilaterally make war

In a 30-22 vote on Tuesday, the House military spending bill advanced through committee. This bill supported by the Democratic leadership is likely to face substantial differences with the Senate’s alternative.

The bill seeks to break new ground on a number of issues, and in particular seeks to limit the president’s ability to unilaterally make war, and prevent the Pentagon from shuffling huge amounts of money around in the budget.

The bill would immediately de-fund US involvement in the war in Yemen, and would set an eight-month sunset on the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), on which myriad US wars are nominally based.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) was critical of the expiration of the AUMF, insisting it must be replaced with something else that would justify those wars. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said the eight month clause gives Congress ample time to debate a new war authorization.

Attempts to de-fund the Yemen War were pushed by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD). Congress already voted to end the war on the grounds it was never authorized, though President Trump vetoed this. The alternative of cutting the money from the war could not itself be vetoed.

The bill approves a 3.1% military pay raise, but rejects skirting spending caps by putting $100 billion into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget. It also rejected a $72 million request to build a Space Force headquarters.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.