Senate Approves Bill to Repeal Iraq War Authorizations

Senate Approves Bill to Repeal Iraq War Authorizations
The U.S. Capitol building on Feb. 28, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Jackson Richman

The Senate approved legislation with bipartisan support on March 29 that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 Iraq war authorizations.

The first Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) allowed the United States to enter the Gulf War, during which then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces were driven out of Kuwait. The second allowed the U.S. military to go into Iraq following reports that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. forces captured Hussein in 2003; he was executed in Iraq in 2006.

The final 66–30 vote, which needed only a simple majority, comes after the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected amendments offered by Republican senators. The amendments needed 60 votes for adoption.

Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), have said that the 1991 and 2002 authorizations needed to be repealed so that future administrations don’t abuse them, since Congress has the authority to declare war, in accordance with Article I of the Constitution.

However, Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), expressed opposition to the bill, citing the ongoing threat from Iran.

President Joe Biden supports repealing the AUMFs, according to a statement from the White House.

The administration noted that “the United States conducts no ongoing military activities that rely primarily on the 2002 AUMF, and no ongoing military activities that rely on the 1991 AUMF, as a domestic legal basis.

“Repeal of these authorizations would have no impact on current U.S. military operations and would support this administration’s commitment to a strong and comprehensive relationship with our Iraqi partners,” the statement reads.

“That partnership, which includes cooperation with the Iraqi Security Forces, continues at the invitation of the government of Iraq in an advise, assist, and enable role.”

The bill, which was co-sponsored by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), now goes to the Republican-controlled House for consideration. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on March 21 that he has no objection to the bill. He didn’t say when he would bring the measure to the House floor for a vote.

McCarthy said last week that he would support the bill, as long as a separate 2001 authorization for the global war on terror after the 9/11 attacks, is left in place.

“I still want to take actions if there are terrorists anywhere around the world.”

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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