In May House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act to repeal and replace Obamacare with Republican votes only. A few weeks later they passed the Financial Choice Act to repeal and replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, again with Republican votes only. But Thursday a great thing happened amidst all the partisan darkness in Washington, a flicker of light emerged proving hope springs eternal and there is indeed still hope for America.
On a voice vote a House Appropriations subcommittee approved with both Democrat and Republican votes, an amendment sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee that would revoke the current Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 240 days after the enactment of the bill. The California Democrat, one of the most liberal members of the House, was the lone vote against the original AUMF for President George W. Bush passed three days after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
That authorization still in effect, gives the president the power to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
The law has been invoked by Mr. Bush, former President Obama and now President Trump in ordering missions to invade Iraq, fight Islamic State in countries around the world, and conduct other counter terrorism missions. According to the Congressional Research Service, the law has justified military action nearly 40 times in 14 countries.
Both liberal and conservative critics have pushed Congress to debate and pass an updated and more narrowly written war-fighting authorization, but have failed repeatedly to get lawmakers to act.
That all changed Thursday with the near unanimous bi-partisan vote, House Appropriations defense subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) was the only lawmaker to oppose the amendment. The lawmakers felt so good about the bi-partisan vote that they applauded themselves afterward.
This is the first bi-partisan effort of the Trump Presidency, it’s this type of cooperation that’s needed to make politics functional again in America. If Republicans and Democrats could continue to work together like this real progress for the American people can be made.
For the sake of bi-partisanship maybe the next issue to tackle
should be an infrastructure bill for all the improvement work so badly needed in America. Since there is no such thing as a Republican or Democratic bridge, a Republican or Democratic airport or a Republican or Democratic highway, this could be training ground for the harder and more partisan issues of healthcare and tax reform.
If true bi-partisanship were practiced the current 115th Congress could begin to restore America’s faith that consensus-driven governance and compromise are possible, this would be the greatest benefit to all of America.