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House appropriators vote to repeal 9/11 war-making power

Former Rep. Ron Paul has been asking for this for more than a decade. (AP Photo)

A panel of House lawmakers agreed Thursday to repeal the legislation authorizing the use of military force against terrorists that Congress passed after the 9/11 attacks, which could set the stage for a renewed debate over U.S. conflict in the Middle East.

It was a victory for Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who offered the amendment to the Defense Department spending bill to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, and set a deadline for Congress to debate and pass new legislation setting limits on U.S. military operations overseas.

Her bill appeared on track to fail on a typical party-line vote during a markup of the fiscal 2018 defense appropriations bill, as a top Republican countered that the bill “cripples our ability to conduct counterterrorism operations” to protect the country. But the measure was rescued by several Republicans who broke ranks in the course of the debate, and the language was approved in a voice vote.

It will have to be approved by the Senate and signed into law before it takes effect. Still, the vote is a signal that Congress may be ready to stop using the old 9/11 authority to justify military action nearly two decades later.

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