US Senate votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war authorisation


The US Senate voted Wednesday to repeal the resolution that authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, in a largely symbolic but bipartisan move to reassert Congressional oversight of war power.

The Senate voted 66-30 to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Forces (AUMF) in Iraq and also the 1991 authorization that blocked the first Gulf War.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine and Republican Senator Todd Young led efforts to repeal the resolutions. The resolution will now move to the House for a vote. If it passes, President Joe Biden has suggested he will sign it into law.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who voted for the repeal, said the AUMFs were “outdated.”

“The United States, Iraq, the whole world has changed a lot since 2002, and it’s time the laws on the books catch up with those changes,” he said.

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Many lawmakers praised the bipartisan efforts of Kaine and Young.

“This bill will be the law of the land. Congress will take back its constitutional responsibility for the power to declare war and place our troops in harm’s way,” said Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

The Republican Senator Rand Paul also welcomed the passage of the resolution: “Every ten years that we pass the end of the war, I think that most people are figuring the end of the war,” he said, adding that Young, a former Marine, was “very, very good” at convincing his GOP colleagues to support the measure.

The recall is largely symbolic and is not expected to affect current military deployments. However, Republican and Democratic presidents have used it to justify the use of military force abroad.

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Former President Donald Trump’s advisers claimed they used the 2002 resolution in part to justify the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, and President Obama used it to justify airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and in Syria.

Some lawmakers have expressed opposition to the repeal.

“I’m also concerned about how our faces will read this,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who opposed repeal. “Will this be used against us?” Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, are also divided over the repeal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement opposing the repeal on Tuesday.

“I oppose Congress sunsetting any military force authorizations in the Middle East,” he wrote. “Our terrorist enemies are not sunsetting their war against us. And when we deploy our service members in harm’s way, we must provide them with all the legal support and authority we can.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has suggested that he is willing to support resolution 2002. “I have no problem repealing that,” McCarthy said, but ruled that he will not vote for a bill that also includes a repeal of Authorization 2001 for the Use of Military Force was passed after the 9/11 attacks, which is its much broader legal coverage for counter-terrorism operations around the world.

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