Senate Votes Down Bill to Withdraw Troops from Niger

The effort was led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

The Senate on Thursday rejected a bill that would have directed President Biden to withdraw all US troops from Niger, where a military government has been in power since a July 26 coup that removed former President Mohamed Bazoum.

The bill failed overwhelmingly in a vote of 11-86. The resolution was led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Roger Marshall (R-KS). The eight other senators who voted in favor of the bill include Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Kennedy (R-LA), JD Vance (R-OH), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Mike Braun (R-IN).

During the debate on the Senate floor, Paul questioned the authorization for the US presence in Niger as it’s justified by the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that was passed in the wake of 9/11 to invade Afghanistan. “Using an AUMF from 22 years ago, an authorization to get the people who attacked us on 9/11, to justify a war in Niger is a ridiculous notion and should be rejected out of hand,” he said, according to Responsible Statecraft.

The US has about 1,100 troops in Niger and a major drone base in the country, known as Air Base 201. The Biden administration recently formally declared the events of July 26 a coup, meaning the US can no longer provide military assistance to the junta, but there’s no sign the US plans to withdraw.

France began withdrawing its troops from Niger after the post-coup government, led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani, demanded the French leave. So far, the junta has not asked the US to exit the country, and there has been reports that the US is considering a waiver to allow continued cooperation with Niger’s military.

“Does it make sense to station over 1000 troops in a country ruled by a military junta?” Paul asked on the Senate floor. “We’re in the middle of a potential war with 1100 troops in Niger where the democratically elected president has been deposed, and they’re being ruled by a military junta and still our troops are there.”

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was threatening to intervene in Niger to reinstate Bazoum, which could have sparked a major regional war. No military intervention has happened, but crippling economic sanctions ECOWAS imposed on Niger are still in effect and are having a devastating impact on the civilian population.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.