Mike Coffman, bipartisan House panel introduce new authorization of military force measure

DENVER – U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and a bipartisan panel of congressmen on Thursday introduced a new resolution to replace the war resolutions that preceded the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Congress has long fought over making a new authorization for the use of military force that would replace the two used to go to Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq two years later—both of which were seen on both sides of the aisle as being overly-broad.

The new resolution introduced by Coffman and the bipartisan panel of House members from Arizona, Nebraska and California would repeal the old authorizations outright.

Should the resolution pass, the new authorization would allow U.S. military action against al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban for another five years.

The U.S. would also be permitted to attack “any person, other than a sovereign nation, that is a part of, or substantially supports” one of those groups “and has engaged in hostilities” against the U.S., its armed forces, or civilian support of the armed services.

Under the resolution, the president would have to submit a report to Congress describing any actions taken against those groups within 60 days of the resolution becoming law. After the first report, the president would have to submit another similar report to Congress every 90 days.

“The threats we face today are far different than those we faced over a decade ago, and this legislation reflects Congress’s Constitutional role in authorizing the use of military force against terrorist organizations,” said Coffman.

“With this bipartisan legislation, we can meet our obligation to provide our service members with clear guidance as they fight to keep us safe. We can also provide our constituents the assurance that, no matter who our commander-in-chief is, Congress will assert its constitutional authority to define the use of our military force around the world,” said Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., who introduced the legislation with Coffman.

Defense Secretary James Mattis earlier this month told the House Armed Services Committee that he’d support a new war resolution.

Last month, the Senate voted down another bipartisan effort to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who has supported repeal efforts, voted against a motion to table the measures, while Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, voted in favor of the bill.

It’s currently unclear which committee Coffman’s House bill will be assigned to first.

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