Reps. Coffman, Gallego, Bacon, Panetta: A bipartisan case for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force

Just days after the September 11th 2001 attack at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congress passed Senate Joint Resolution 23, “Authorization for Use of Military Force.”  This resolution authorized the President to execute a military campaign “to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States.”  Then, in 2002, Congress passed House Joint Resolution 114, the “Iraq Resolution,” permitting the President to use military force and execute the invasion of Iraq.  Today, nearly two decades later, we are still conducting military campaigns in Iraq/Syria and Afghanistan based upon these two resolutions.

As Members of Congress and of the House Armed Services Committee, we believe it is long past time to have Congress debate and reconsider the authorities under which these seemingly endless wars are continuing.  No military effort of the United States has lasted this long and the threats we face today are far different from the ones that precipitated the passage of these two resolutions.  In addition, we believe that Presidents, from both political parties, have used the broad language contained in these two resolutions to conduct military operations well beyond the intent of Congress.  

That is why, we are introducing this new, bipartisan, AUMF. This updated AUMF would replace both the existing ones and if passed will authorize and limit the use of the U.S. Armed Forces for five years against solely al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and any person or persons associated with these entities who are engaged in hostilities against the United States.

Specifically, this time-limited AUMF will clearly define those against whom the President is authorized to use military force.  It would not allow the use of force against other persons, entities, or nations without a further action from Congress.  Our legislation also will provide our military leaders with clear guidance to combat those who wish to harm us.

To properly exercise and reenergize Congress’s important Constitutional role in conducting oversight and authorizing the actions of our military force, we hope and expect that other members join us as cosponsors on this bill, and that House leadership moves expeditiously to bring this bill to a vote. We must reaffirm our commitment to ending the terrorist threats facing our nation, our allies, and our own citizens while at the same time restoring Congress’s appropriate role in authorizing, directing and limiting the use of military force.  

Republican Mike Coffman represents Colorado's 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrat Ruben Gallego represents Arizona's 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Republican Don Bacon represents Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrat Jimmy Panetta serves California’s 20th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.