Senate Advances Repeals of Gulf and Iraq War Authorizations

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
March 28, 2023Congress
Senate Advances Repeals of Gulf and Iraq War Authorizations
The U.S. Capitol building in Washington on Feb. 24, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The Senate voted 65-28 on March 27 to invoke cloture, ending debate, on a bill that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 Iraq war authorizations.

Ahead of the vote Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cited the U.S. retaliatory strikes in Syria following Iran-backed groups killing a U.S. contractor, injuring a second contractor and wounding five soldiers.

Menendez noted that President Joe Biden did not need the 1991 and 2002 authorizations.

The first allowed the United States to enter the Gulf War, during which 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.

United States forces captured him in 2003 and he was executed in Iraq in 2006.

The procedural vote, which required 60 votes, comes a week after the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Last week, the Senate voted on amendments and will continue to do so this week. By invoking cloture, debate on the bill will be limited to 30 hours.

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including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), have said that the 1991 and 2002 authorizations need to be repealed so that future administrations don’t abuse them in that it is Congress that has the authority to declare war in accordance with Article I of the Constitution.

Biden supports repealing the Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (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.

“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.”

Following final passage of the bill in the Democrat-controlled Senate, expected this week, the measure would go to the GOP-controlled House.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on March 21 he has no objection to the bill.

“I’m into it,” he said at a press conference. “I don’t have a problem repealing that.”

McCarthy did not say if and when he would bring the bill to the House floor for a vote.

The Speaker remarked that he wants the 2001 authorization, which allows the United States to go after those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, to not be repealed.

“I was not here to vote on either of the creation of those, but you’re 20 years into this now,” said McCarthy, who has been in Congress since 2007.

“I still want to take actions if there are terrorists anywhere around the world. If we’re keeping that one AUMF and removing another one, that’s personally where I am.”

From The Epoch Times