WASHINGTON — A proposal to end the 2001 authorization of the use of military force and any operations conducted under it was stripped from a House measure to fund the Pentagon in 2018.
The House Rules Committee stripped the provision from the bill late Tuesday. It had been sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and surprisingly backed by Democrats and Republicans on the Appropriations Committee on June 29.
In a series of tweets late Tuesday, Lee accused House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., of orchestrating its removal, calling the move underhanded and undemocratic.
"Ryan should be ashamed of himself for forcing Republicans to strip out my bipartisan AUMF [amendment] in the dead of night. What is he afraid of?" she tweeted Tuesday night.
The House Rules Committee's website indicates that without a vote, it substituted Lee's amendment with softer language passed in the House by a voice vote last week.
That proposal, from Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., orders the White House to present Congress with a strategy and a budgetary analysis needed to defeat al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic State and affiliated groups. It also requires an assessment on whether the existing 2001 and 2002 AUMFs are adequate to accomplish such a strategy.
The Mercury News reported that after meeting with Ryan last week, Lee suspected the House Rules Committee would strip the language.
Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the 2001 AUMF and has spent 16 years fighting it. Even she was surprised the appropriations panel adopted her amendment, tweeting, "Whoa."
But almost immediately after her amendment was adopted, there was pushback. The House Foreign Affairs Committee claimed sole jurisdiction over AUMF bills and said Lee's amendment should have been ruled out of order because it did not belong in a spending bill.
"There is a way to have this debate, but this, which endangers our national security, is not it," Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said then.
Besides Lee's proposal, she has a standalone bill to repeal the authorization that has yet to get traction. In the upper chamber, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., are proposing a new AUMF to repeal the previous post-Sept. 11 authorization, which they believe has been stretched too far.