Last week, Congressman Garamendi, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, joined Republican colleague Rep. Walter B. Jones (NC-3) to introduce H.R. 1666. This bipartisan legislation would ban further funding for operations in Afghanistan after 1 year unless Congress debates and passes legislation specifically approving continued military operations there.
For over 15 years, the United States has legitimized its efforts in Afghanistan with a broad AUMF--fewer than 60 words long--that was passed in 2001. But our objectives in Afghanistan today are fundamentally different than they were when the first AUMF was signed into law, and Congress has provided no modification of this authorization. Even worse, this 15-year-old AUMF was also so broadly written that presidents from both parties have used it to justify military action in South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa without Congressional approval and little oversight.
The continued use of this open-ended and virtually unlimited AUMF effectively usurps the Article I power of Congress to declare war, limits public scrutiny, and irresponsibly shifts power to the Executive Branch. H.R. 1666 is the first step towards ensuring that Congress upholds its Constitutionally-required duty to be the branch of government that declares war. It would eliminate funding for activities in Afghanistan--with the exception of funding for intelligence activities and the United States Embassy--unless Congress votes on a resolution outlining the parameters for continued military intervention.
"Congress has failed to uphold its constitutional responsibility of authorizing our military to engage in conflicts abroad," Garamendi said. "H.R. 1666 will require congressional oversight into our conflicts overseas, and hopefully put us on the path to ending the longest war in U.S. history. Over 2,100 American lives have been lost in the Afghanistan War, and over 20,000 others have left the battlefield with physical or mental wounds. Congress's silence on this issue is insulting to the brave men and women who serve our great country, and I hope Members from both parties will come together and debate this critical issue for our nation."
Congressman Garamendi is one of six other original co-sponsors to H.R. 1666: Representatives Jimmy Duncan (R-TN), Don Young (R-AK), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO). On Tuesday, Garamendi joined Rep. Jones on C-Span Washington Journal to discuss the bill.