AUMF

Authorizing conflict: AUMF and Congress explained

A protester dressed as President Donald Trump participates in the No War With Iran rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The United States hasn’t officially declared war since World War II. Instead, conflicts such as the Vietnam War, The Gulf War and the War on Terror are initiated courtesy of an Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF

Watch as CQ Roll Call’s Foreign Policy reporter Rachel Oswald explains AUMF, how it’s used and the implications behind President Donald Trump’s recent military actions against Iran.

Pelosi wants new AUMF but says ‘it’s harder than you would think’
Speaker describes questions for debating new AUMF but does not commit to vote

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, January 9, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she wants Congress to pass a new authorization for use of military force, or AUMF, to cover all conflicts the U.S. is currently fighting in the Middle East but she did not commit to drafting or holding a vote on such a measure. 

“It’s harder than you would think,” the California Democrat said during her weekly press conference. 

Road ahead: War powers debate shifts to House
Senate turns back to nominations after brief period of legislating

California Rep. Ro Khanna is leading an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would block the Trump administration from using military force in Iran without congressional approval. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:02 p.m. | Congress could get a second opportunity this week to try and block President Donald Trump from going to war with Iran without congressional approval as the House debates its fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Senate rejected an amendment seeking to add such language to its version of the measure before it left for the July Fourth recess. The overall measure passed 86-8.

Pelosi Says She Supports North Korea Talks
 

Podcast: Use of Force vs. Use of Power
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 8

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., talks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol on March 20, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators on both sides are pushing to rewrite the law authorizing military force, untouched for 16 years. Even after airstrikes on Syria the debate is likely to fade fast, White House correspondent John Bennett explains, part of a complex modern war-making power dynamic that favors presidents over Congress.

Show Notes

Doing Nothing Is Doing Something: Trump, Congress and the Use of Force
 

Senate Opts Against Limiting Trump’s War Powers
Measure to cease most military actions in Yemen shot down

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, here at a rally at the Capitol last year, pushed a resolution to end most U.S. military operations in Yemen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid a whirlwind day of White House news, President Donald Trump on Tuesday retained the expanded war powers he inherited from his post-9/11 predecessors, as the Senate shot down a measure that would have ordered him to cease most U.S. military operations in Yemen.

Trump scored a victory on behalf of the executive branch’s ability to launch and sustain military operations in new countries without first getting authorization from Congress. Amid pressure from Republican leaders, the White House and the Pentagon, the chamber killed a resolution, 55-44, offered by a bipartisan group of senators that would have required Trump to cease all U.S. military action against groups other than al-Qaida in Yemen.

Don’t Expect Military Force Authorization for Syria Soon
Lawmakers want a plan from the president

Kaine said the strikes in Syria were unlawful, and has argued that military force be approved by Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin walked into the closed-door briefing on military strikes in Syria, with a joint resolution in his hand.

“I’m going to see what part of this still applies, and I think a lot of it still does,” the Illinois Democrat said as he entered the secure briefing room in the Capitol on Friday where Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was addressing senators.

House Rejects Call for New War Powers Resolution to Fight ISIS
Lawmakers adopt amendments to prevent transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees

( Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly).

The House on Thursday rejected two amendments to a defense spending measure that would have effectively called on Congress to pass a new war powers resolution.   

The votes show that Congress is no rush to approve a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, despite a longstanding debate about whether Congress should rewrite the 15-year-old war authorization approved after the 9/11 attacks.