Paul threatens to block defense bill amendments

Posted September 14, 2017

The Senate ultimately voted 61-36 to table Paul's repeal amendment. This vote will be to sunset, in 6 months, the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he anxious Paul's amendment would "be read in many places as a signal the Senate has essentially declared in six months we are going to de-authorize military actions". In response to Congress' move, which took place on the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, Paul tweeted that he was looking to end US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and would "object to all procedural motions and amendments" until a vote was held. "They're unauthorized. We haven't voted on them, and I say, look, let's pay attention to some of the problems we have here at home".

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But Paul could find support in both parties from the corner of the Capitol that has been pressing for a new war authorization since the United States began military operations against ISIS in 2014. Paul, along with a number of other supporters from both political parties, has long criticized the scope of the resolutions. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who tweeted that "Congress owes our troops and their families a full debate to authorize the sue of military force before we send them into harm's way".

Paul has already held up consideration of this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) twice over the issue. Jeff Flake of Arizona to draft a new war authorization, says he's likely to back Paul's amendment. The 2001 AUMF authorized the president's use of "all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons" connected with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He said such a motion was crucial for spurring a renewed debate on the legality and constitutionality of the U.S.'s involvement in such conflicts.

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Bob Corker (R-TN) moved to table (kill) the amendment, forcing an immediate vote.

"No one with an ounce of intellectual honesty believes these authorizations allow current wars we fight in seven countries", he said.

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Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said lawmakers have the responsibility to debate because the 2001 authorization passed nearly unanimously to fight the perpetrators of 9/11 in Afghanistan no longer applies to military operations 16 years later. John McCain (R-AZ), were said to be concerned that new, specific AUMFs would limit to scope of America's wars, whereas the status quo is an AUMF that isn't directly applicable, and subsequently includes no direct limits that anyone is complying with.