Congress may repeal the post-9/11 act the US military used to justify the fight against ISIS

The House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee passed an amendment repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force that was passed in the days after the September 11, 2001, attacks and has been used to justify military action abroad since.

The measure was introduced by California Rep. Barbara Lee, who was the only congressperson to vote against the AUMF in 2001.

It was passed as part of the fiscal year 2018 defense spending bill, which the committee approved on Thursday.

Lee's amendment "makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report," Texas GOP Rep. Kay Granger said. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote and would go into effect 240 days after the enactment of the broader bill.

The bill's passage Thursday elicited surprise from observers, according to Politico reporter Jennifer Scholtes.

The 2001 AUMF authorized the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001," in order to prevent future attacks on the US by those actors.

As of 2013, the 2001 AUMF had been invoked more than 30 times to authorize troop deployments and other military measures, including detentions at Guantanamo Bay and military trials for terrorism suspects.

Under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the 2001 AUMF was used to justify the deployment of US forces to Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, and Somalia.

9/11/2001: 14 most iconic images of 9/11
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9/11/2001: 14 most iconic images of 9/11
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: (FILE PHOTO) A fiery blasts rocks the south tower of the World Trade Center as the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the building September 11, 2001 in New York City. Almost two years after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, the New York Port Authority is releasing transcripts on August 28, 2003 of emergency calls made from inside the twin towers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Sarasota, UNITED STATES: TO GO WITH AFP STORY 'Americans mark 9/11 anniversary with new questions on vulnerability' - (FILES) US President George W. Bush has his early morning school reading event interupted by his Chief of Staff Andrew Card (L) shortly after news of the New York City airplane crashes was available in Sarasota, Florida 11 September 2001. AFP Photo Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans mark 9/11 anniversary with new questions on vulnerability' - This 11 September 2001 file photo shows Marcy Borders covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. The woman was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
New York, UNITED STATES: TO GO WITH AFP STORY 'Americans mark 9/11 anniversary with new questions on vulnerability' - (FILES) The rubble of the World Trade Center smoulders following a terrorist attack 11 September 2001 in New York. Americans mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks Sunday nagged by new burning questions about their readiness to confront a major disaster after the debacle of Hurricane Katrina. AFP PHOTO/Alex Fuchs (Photo credit should read ALEX FUCHS/AFP/Getty Images)
394471 13: Firefighter Tony James cries while attending the funeral service for New York Fire Department Chaplain Rev. Mychal Judge, in front of the St. Francis of Assisi Church September 15, 2001 in New York City. Judge died while giving the last rites to a fireman in the collapse of the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was destroyed after both the landmark towers were struck by two hijacked planes in an alleged terrorist attack on September 11. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 8: The 'Tribute in Light' memorial as seen from Bayonne, New Jersey, consists of two shafts of light to represent the World Trade Center Twin Towers, is tested before the fifth anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks September 8, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Sylwia Kapuscinski/Getty Images)

NEW YORK- SEPTEMBER 3: A wax replica of Thomas Franklin's photograph from September 11, is seen at Madame Tussaud's wax museum September 3, 2002 in New York City. The replica is to be part of an exhibit at the museum called 'Hope: Humanity and Heroism.' (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


Obama applied the AUMF to his military action against ISIS, which was criticized as an overbroad interpretation of the bill, as that terrorist group did not exist at the time of the September 11 attacks.

"The AUMF is considered groundbreaking as it (1) empowered the President to target non-state actors, even to the individual level, as well as states, and (2) did not specify which states and non-state actors were included under the authorization," the Congressional Research Service wrote in 2013.

It is not the first time Lee has acted to repeal the AUMF. She introduced an amendment doing so in summer 2015, and that bill passed the Appropriations Committee in a bipartisan vote.

In May 2016, the House voted 285-138 to reject an amendment Lee introduced to end Obama's authority to use the military against ISIS.

The House originally passed the AUMF 420 to 1 on September 14, 2001. It passed the Senate 98-0 later the same day.

Lee, the lone no vote, said days later that the measure was "a blank check" granting the president the power to attack anyone involved in the terrorist attacks anywhere without time limit.

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

Like earlier efforts to repeal the 2001 AUMF, Lee's amendment may get stripped from the defense bill later. But the California congresswoman continues to push for Congress to fulfill its oversight role of the president's war-making powers.

"If people think its worth it, for whatever reason, then let their member of Congress vote for it. That's the point," she told BuzzFeed in early 2014.

NOW WATCH: This is the inside account of the secret battle US Marines have been fighting against ISIS

9/11/2001: People coming together
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9/11/2001: People coming together
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center In New York, United States On September 11, 2001-Hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center towers destroying both of them. (Photo by Michel SETBOUN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: (FRANCE OUT) Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center after attack by terrorist hijacked airliners, which destroyed the Twin Towers and killed more than 3000 people in New York, United States on September 11, 2001(Photo by Alan CHIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Firefighter covered with ash after World Trade Center collapsed in terrorist attack. (Photo by Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Daily News staff photographer David Handschuh is carried from site after his leg was shattered by falling debris while photographing the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. , (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 11: People run from lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center was hit by planes in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
394261 33: ( NEWSWEEK, US NEWS, GERMANY OUT) Police escort a civilian from the scene of the collapse of a tower of the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 in New York City after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in an alleged terrorist attack. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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