Additional Information on the Federal Legislative Agenda, 116th Congress (2019-2020)

War Powers

House Legislative Scorecard 2019-2020

Senate Legislative Scorecard 2019-2020

Repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force – YES

Representative Lee [D-CA-13] introduced H.R.1274 to the House. MA Reps. McGovern, Clark, and Pressley were original cosponsors in February 2019, while Rep. Kennedy joined in December 2019. This Act would repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted in Sept. 2001 as a “broad and open-ended authorization for the use of military force” and recognizes that such an understanding of this law undermines Congress’ authority to declare war. Here is the press release from Rep. Lee on why the 2001 AUMF must be repealed. Click here to read the Peace Action Policy Briefing on AUMF.

Afghan Service Act – YES

S.J.Res.12 was introduced by Senator Rand [R-KY]. It is a joint resolution to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, sunset the 2001 AUMF, and give U.S. service members who were deployed in support of the Global War on Terror a $2,500 bonus. Here is a press release on this legislation.

Repeal the 2002 Iraq War AUMF – YES

S.J.Res.13, sponsored by Senator Kaine [D-VA], has no Massachusetts sponsors or cosponsors. It is a joint resolution to repeal the authorization for use of military force against Iraq (the 2002 authorization and other) since this authorization is no longer necessary and should have a “clear political and legal conclusion.” Here is a press release on this legislation.

A similar bill H.R.2456 was introduced to the House a few months later in May 2019 by Rep. Lee [D-CA-13], which was cosponsored by MA Reps. Neal, McGovern, Kennedy, Clark, and Pressley in January 2020.

War Powers Reform – YES

Representative Himes [D-CT-4] introduced H.R.1193, with Rep. Moulton as a cosponsor. This bill prohibits funding for the Armed Forces from being obligated or expended for the introduction of the Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, in the absence of a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization, or a national emergency created by an attack or imminent threat of attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or the Armed Forces.

Representative DeFazio [D-OR-4] introduced H.J.Res.66, with McGovern as a cosponsor. This joint resolution revises the War Powers Resolution, a law designed to limit the President’s power to introduce Armed Forces into hostilities. Changes include shortening the time that Armed Forces may be involved in hostilities without congressional action and providing for judicial enforcement. Here is a related press release.

Senator Gillibrand [D-NY] introduced S.J.Res.60, with Senator Markey as a cosponsor. This joint resolution serves to amend the War Powers Resolution to improve requirements and limitations in connection with authorizations for use of military force and narrowings and repeals of such authorizations, and for other purposes. Here is a press release on this legislation.

For more information on these issues, please refer to the following sources:

Reclaim Congressional War Powers

Trump ignored Congress on war powers. Constitutional scholars want Democrats to take him to court.” by Tara Golshan 

This website has more resources on the topic, in particular: Principles of a Progressive Foreign Policy for the United States, Congress Must Repeal the 2001 AUMF, and the Pentagon Waste Fact Sheet FY2019

Updated August 6th, 2020