US Senate advances bill to repeal Iraq, Gulf war authorisations
The US Senate has advanced a bill that would repeal two congressional resolutions that authorized the use of military force in Iraq in 1991 and 2002.
The Authorization for the Use of Military Forces (AUMF) resolutions (1991 and 2002) gave the president the ability to undertake military action without the need for congressional approval, as outlined in the specific terms laid out in the measures.
A US Senate committee voted to revoke the Iraq war authorization
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“The Iraq War has been a long time coming. This AUMF has outlived its purpose and we can no longer justify keeping it in place,” said Senator Chuck Schumer before the vote.
“Every year we leave Iraq’s AUMFs on the books is another year that can be abused by a future administration.”
The legislation to repeal the AUMFs was co-sponsored by Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Todd Young. It advanced on Thursday by a procedural vote of 68 to 27. The final vote will take place as early as next week, around the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
The vote on Thursday comes after the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to advance the bill last week. In 2021, the House voted in favor of repealing the 2002 AUMF, but the Senate did not. In the final stage the resolution will be submitted to Congress for a vote.
replacing ‘outdated’ authorizations
The White House signaled its support on Thursday and said the repeals would have “no impact on current US military operations”.
“President Biden remains committed to working with Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are replaced with a narrow, specific framework that is better suited to protect Americans from modern terrorist threats,” a the statement said.
“Toward that end, the Administration will ensure that Congress has a clear and thorough understanding of the effect of any such action and the threats to U.S. forces, personnel, and interests around the world.”
The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs authorized the use of armed forces against the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The first was used in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the second was used for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. But since then, the AUMF has been used by successive US presidents even though the war in Iraq is over.
The former Donald Trump administration cited the 2002 AUMF as legal justification for the 2020 US strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
But while the measure would repeal the 2002 and 1991 AUMFs, it would not repeal the 2001 AUMF more broadly.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who has long advocated repealing the authorizations, told Politico on Thursday that he is considering introducing an amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF, which was passed after the attacks of 9/ 11.
The open-ended nature of the 2001 AUMF has allowed multiple presidents to wage war against several militant groups, including al-Qaeda, the Taliban, al-Shabab, and the Islamic State (IS).
Kaine, a co-sponsor of the legislation, told Politico that the 2001 AUMF should be “significantly revised,” but said Congress would not gain as much support if it were repealed entirely.
“You’d get a lot less votes for that than you would for repealing Iraq,” he said.