In Unexpected Vote, House Committee OKs Debate On Ending ‘Endless’ War (VIDEO)

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. questions U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, before the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subc... Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. questions U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, before the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittee budget hearing on the United Nations and International Organizations. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) MORE LESS

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) won an unexpected and significant victory Thursday, when the House Appropriations Committee approved her amendment to sunset the 2001 law, passed days after the 9/11 attacks, that has subsequently been used to justify 16 years of American overseas military engagements.

The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force gave then-President George W. Bush broad authority to pursue militarily “those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

Lee’s amendment to sunset the AUMF within 240 days received nearly unanimous support from the House Appropriations Committee, with only House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) voicing her dissent, according to The Hill.

The law has been used to justify combat operations from Libya to Pakistan, and nearly everywhere in between.

Lee and others, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), have offered amendments in the past to repeal or defund the 2001 AUMF, but none have ever been passed into law.

Chances that Lee’s latest effort gets past full House and Senate votes remain slim. Still, given the Republican-controlled Appropriation’s Committee’s unexpected — and surprisingly enthusiastic — support for the amendment, its future may be more optimistic than even Lee expected.

Whoa,” she wrote on Twitter. “My amdt to sunset 2001 AUMF was adopted in DOD Approps markup! GOP & Dems agree: a floor debate & vote on endless war is long overdue.”

Lee was the lone dissenting voice in the House during the original debate over the 2001 AUMF. In a speech on Sept. 14, 2001, she warned that “military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

In an op-ed days later, on Sept. 23, Lee wrote that the AUMF was “a blank check to the President to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events — anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit.”

“In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration,” she continued. “I could not support such a grant of war-making authority to the president; I believe it would put more innocent lives at risk.”

Watch lawmakers cheer as Lee’s amendment is approved below, via The Hill:

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