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Push to End Military Authorization in Iraq Gains Traction

A broad coalition of lawmakers, including President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and a number of House representatives from both sides of aisle, are pushing for a repeal of the legislation that authorized military action in Iraq.

iraq 3921953 640According to an announcement from the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and joined by Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine and Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, the committee was expected (as of press time) to take a vote to repeal both the 1991 and 2002 Iraq Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) at its Tuesday, June 22 meeting.

“The decision to authorize the use of military force is the most important vote that any Member of Congress can take. It is a vote to send America’s sons and daughter into harm’s way, and we must never take that responsibility lightly. Similarly, the weight of rescinding that decision also demands our full attention and timely consideration,” said Menendez, in a statement.

The 1991 AUMF authorized the President to respond to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, while the 2002 AUMF authorized action with respect to defending “U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq” and to enforce related U.N. Security Council resolutions, the committee notes.

Menendez said the “authorized combat mission” in Iraq was completed more than a decade ago and said a vote to repeal the AUMFs is long overdue. Specifically, the Senator pointed to potential for abuse of “open-ended” authorizations as an impetus for repeal. “This does not mean there is not an appropriate role for our troops in Iraq; but we must recalibrate our relationship with Iraq, putting our diplomatic efforts in the lead, in support of and in coordination with the Iraqi people,” Menendez said.

According to information from the Senate, Congress has formally declared war on 11 occasions, with the last time coming during WWII. Since that declaration, there have been a number of resolutions that continue to “shape U.S. military policy through appropriations and oversight.”

From Twitter: 

Aaron Fritschner @Fritschner Jun 14

"The White House issues a SAP in *support* of repealing the 2002 Iraq War AUMF. It seemed so unlikely for so many years that such a document would ever be written"

The cause got a big boost, too, when Schumer announced his support for the measure as well. The Senate leader vowed to hold a vote on the matter sometime later in the year, according to a report in Politico, which also notes President Joe Biden has come out in favor of a repeal.

Notably, earlier in the year, Biden informed Congress that he had sent the Federal Register notice he would be keeping in place an emergency declaration “with respect to the stabilization of Iraq” beyond its May 22 expiration.

“Obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Biden said.

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