The Senate on Wednesday voted down an amendment introduced by Sen. Rand Paul to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks to invade Afghanistan and is still used to justify wars today.
The bill didn’t come close to passing and failed in a vote of 9-86, with only four Republicans, four Democrats, and one Independent supporting the legislation. The vote came ahead of the Senate voting on a repeal of the 1991 and 2002 Iraq AUMFs, which is a symbolic move as the authorizations are not used to wage war today.
“Today, I offered the US Senate a chance to repeal the 9/11 2001 Authorization for War to reclaim our constitutional power and send a message to the world that we are a nation of peace,” Paul said in a statement after the 2001 AUMF vote.
“Today, we should have risen above symbolism and repealed the 9/11 authorization for war and shown our respect for the Constitution, our fealty to the rule of law, and our sincere desire that peace, not perpetual war, be our legacy,” Paul added.
The 2001 AUMF is used today to justify the US occupation of Syria, US operations in Iraq, the war against al-Shabaab in Somalia, and other special operations across Africa. Most of the groups the US is fighting using the 2001 AUMF didn’t exist when the authorization became law.
Repealing the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs will not have any impact on US operations in the Middle East and Africa, as hawks in Congress have argued. President Biden has previously claimed Article II of the US Constitution as his authority to justify airstrikes against Shia militias in Iraq and Syria. During a debate in the Senate, Sen. Time Kaine (D-VA) said the president “has Article II power to defend against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and is doing it every day.”