Paul has already held up consideration of this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) twice over the issue. "Today will be the first major vote we have, not necessarily on ending the wars... but on whether we should even vote on whether to continue war or end war". Critics like Paul have said its ambiguity allows the president to take over Congress' constitutionally outlined role in declaring war.
Paul's office announced he would get a vote Wednesday on the Kentucky Republican's amendment that would repeal the 2001 and 2002 war authorizations after six months, giving Congress time to pass a new Authorization for Use of Military Force for the wars against Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban.
Another 13 Democrats meanwhile voted in favor of putting Paul's amendment to the side.
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The post-9/11 AUMF has been interpreted broadly by United States presidents as allowing unlimited war-making powers against anything even loosely described as "terror." Sen.
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. Human Rights First notes that it is Congress's responsibility to act as a crucial check on the executive branch, and ensure that presidents are properly constrained in their ability to use armed conflict authorities that undermine human rights, such as lethal force as a first resort, military tribunals, and detention without trial.
Those who opposed brining Paul's amendment for a full vote said the idea had not gone through the proper process, with a full debate and markup period. Sen.
Bob Corker (R-TN) moved to table (kill) the amendment, forcing an immediate vote. Mike Lee and Dean Heller joining Paul for the Republicans.
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This was driven in no small part by objections from the Senate's Republican leadership.
While Paul's desire to place war powers back into the hands of legislators has been shared by the likes of Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Republican Senator Jeff Flake from IL, both have expressed a preference for doing so in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, rather than imposing a deadline on Congress, The Washington Post reported.
While he'd hoped this would bring in support not only from opponents of the war, but from hawks eager to get their votes on the record to authorize these many, effectively unauthorized wars, little support ultimately materialized. John McCain (R-AZ) called the amendment "premature" and "irresponsible", however he expressed a need for an updated AUMF that is specific to the fight against ISIS. The expansively interpreted law authorized military attacks against those responsible for 9/11 and "associated forces".
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