Senate Advances Bipartisan Bill to Repeal 1991 and 2002 AUMFs to End Endless War
In a move that marks significant progress in the effort to end endless war, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bipartisan bill on March 8 that would repeal the 1991 Gulf War authorizations and the 2002 Iraq War authorization (S. 316). The 13-8 vote in favor of the bill from Sens. Tim Kaine (VA) and Todd Young (IN) is a major step towards getting the bill to the Senate floor.
The 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was initially passed by Congress to authorize war against Saddam Hussein’s regime, allowing the president to use the “armed forces as necessary and appropriate” to “defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.” Since the end of the Iraq war, the 2002 AUMF has been misused by both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump with almost no congressional oversight.
For years, members of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) have worked to build congressional support to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF, as it is no longer needed to sustain any current operations and remains open to further abuse as long as it is in place.
Legislators in the House passed legislation to abolish the two AUMFs from the preceding Congress; however, due to the Senate being in a stalemate, that proposal never had a chance to go to vote. Backers of the bill believe they possess enough backing to break a filibuster and put the measure to a vote in the near future.
The White House has declared that they will collaborate with Congress to abolish the two AUMFs, and they will be substituted with a “precise and specialized outline” that will enable the U.S. to utilize military action while at the same time “putting an end to the ceaseless wars.”
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, voiced support for the bipartisan bill and predicted that senators will submit several amendments prior to Thursday's vote. He said on the Senate floor that “we need to put the Iraq war squarely behind us once and for all, and doing that means we should extinguish the legal authority that initiated the war to begin with.”
In a statement to CBS News, Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the committee, declared that a “piecemeal repeal of Iraq authorities is not a viable way of reforming war powers.
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1. “Bill to Repeal 2002 Iraq War Authorization Advances in Senate” Friends Committee On National Legislation, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.fcnl.org/updates/2023-03/bill-repeal-2002-iraq-war-authorization-advances-senate
2. “Commentary: Repeal the Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force” Times Union , 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/commentary-repeal-iraq-authorization-use-17836506.php
3. “Senate panel advances bill to repeal Iraq and Gulf war authorizations” Washington Examiner, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/senate/senate-committee-advances-bill-to-end-iraq-gulf-wars
4. “Senate Republicans split over efforts at limiting presidents' power to use military force” Washington Examiner, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/senate/isolationist-republicans-help-revive-efforts-end-iraq-gulf-wars
5. “Senate to hold key vote on repealing Iraq war authorizations” CBS News, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senate-iraq-war-aumf-authorization-for-use-of-military-force-vote/
6. “Senate committee votes to repeal Iraq AUMFs” The American Legion, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.legion.org/security/258330/senate-committee-votes-repeal-iraq-aumfs
7. “US Senate May Finally Repeal Authorization for War on Iraq after 20 Years — Transcontinental Times” Transcontinental Times, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.transcontinentaltimes.com/us-senate-war-on-iraq-after-20-years/