(UnitedVoice.com) – Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against Iraq Resolution in October 2002, granting then-President George W. Bush the power to decide whether to use military troops against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. The Iraq War began when US forces launched a “shock and awe” bombing campaign on Baghdad with the support of troops from the United Kingdom, Poland, and Australia on March 20, 2023.
Nearly 20 years later, to the day, the US Senate voted to overturn that AUMF, along with a previous one from 1991 granting former President George HW Bush the authority to use military force in the Gulf War in response to Iraq’s invasion of neighboring Kuwait in August 1990.
Senate Moves To Repeal Iraq War Resolutions WIth Bipartisan Vote
On February 9, Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) reintroduced legislation to repeal both AUMFs. The US House passed a previous version of the measure in 2021, but the Senate never voted on its companion bill.
The bill, S.316, would also serve to formally end the Gulf and Iraq Wars, reinstate Congress’ Constitutionally mandated power to authorize military action, and enhance America’s relationship with the now sovereign and democratic nation of Iraq.
The Senate voted to approve the resolution by a vote of 66 to 30 on March 29 and sent the measure to the House for consideration the following day.
Kaine issued a statement when he introduced S.316, explaining that the previous AUMFs were “no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse.” He also noted that Congress owed it to the nation’s military service members, veterans, and families to pass the measure and formally end the Gulf and Iraq Wars.
Young echoed that sentiment. He also noted that Iraq is now the United States’ “strategic partner” in “advancing the security and stability of the Middle East.” However, he explained that, technically, the country remains an enemy of the US as long as the AUMFs stay in effect.
Top Democrat and the White House Respond To Senate Vote
On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lauded the decision to repeal the AUMFs. He pointed out that “every year they remain in place… is another year a future administration can abuse them” to trap the US in another protracted war in the Middle East.
Likewise, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre discussed S.316‘s passage shortly after the Senate vote. She confirmed the Biden Administration’s support for the repeal of the two AUMFs. She noted that no ongoing military actions rely on either authorization, and their repeal “would not impact current military or counterterrorism operations.” Jean-Pierre also urged the House to “move quickly” on the measure.
Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and Chip Roy (R-TX) reintroduced the House version of the bill on February 9. The measure is expected to pass in the lower chamber.
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