Senate Moves 1 Step Closer to Repeal of Iraq War Authorizations

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
March 16, 2023Congress
Senate Moves 1 Step Closer to Repeal of Iraq War Authorizations
The U.S. Capitol in Washington on Dec. 23, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Senate has advanced a bipartisan measure toward a final vote to repeal two U.S. authorizations for military action against Iraq.

The Senate voted, 68–27, on March 16 to invoke cloture, surpassing the needed 60-vote threshold, on legislation that would undo the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs).

The first authorization 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. The United States captured him in 2003 and he was executed in Iraq in 2006.

Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) lauded the bill, which was introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

“Now, almost 20 years to the day that U.S. Military operations began in Iraq, the United States Senate begins the process of repealing the Iraq AUMFs, the ones of 2002 and 1991, putting the final remnants of those conflicts squarely behind us,” Schumer said. “The United States, the nation of Iraq, and the entire world have changed dramatically since 2002 and it’s time the laws on the books catch up with these changes. The Iraq War has itself been long over.”

Schumer, who voted for both of the AUMFs, went on to say that “Americans are tired of endless wars in the Middle East.” He said that if the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs aren’t repealed, future administrations could abuse them, bypassing Congress’s sole authority to declare war in accordance with Article I of the Constitution.

In his remarks ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that the repeals wouldn’t make America “a pacifist nation,” rather it would make the United States “a Constitutional nation.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on March 15 that repealing the AUMFs wouldn’t affect the United States’ response to the 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. 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.”

While the measure is set to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate next week, its fate in the Republican-controlled House is less certain.

From The Epoch Times