Nov 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Chart: It’s been 47 years since Congress repealed an AUMF

U.S. authorizations for the use of military force
Data: Congressional Research Service/Axios research; Table: Will Chase/Axios

The last time an authorization of military force was repealed was in 1974, and some ancient authorizations remain on the books, according to the Congressional Research Service and House Historian.

Why it matters: Lawmakers in both parties have framed repeals as a rare instance of the legislative branch wresting some control back from the executive branch. That's especially true in the post-9/11 era, when Congress’ authority on war powers is often overlooked.

  • The longest-standing authorizations include a 1798 one targeting French vessels.
  • Another is an 1819 law to address piracy in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Other authorizations passed in the early 19th century were repealed only in the 1950s.

What they're saying: "I think it's incredibly significant," Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) said of Congress taking steps to repeal AUMFs.

  • He's introduced bills to repeal AUMFs from 1957 and 1991.
  • "This is not a partisan issue; this is about institutional prerogatives," said Meijer, an Army veteran.
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