A bipartisan group of lawmakers is renewing efforts to repeal the law that authorized the costly U.S. military invasion of Iraq ahead of the 20th anniversary of the strikes on Baghdad next month.
The push to repeal the 2002 Iraq War military authorization and the 1991 Gulf War authorization has steadily gained bipartisan momentum in recent years. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), the main co-sponsors of the effort, hoped to get it done in the last Congress, but the Senate ran out of time amid a packed legislative calendar.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday reiterated his support for their repeal and pledged to bring the legislation to the floor soon “so that the Senate can pass it quickly.”
The 2002 authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, gave President George W. Bush approval to invade Iraq, a disastrous conflict that cost countless lives and trillions of dollars based on false pretenses. Schumer supported the measure along with 28 other Senate Democrats.
Kaine on Thursday said the two authorizations are “no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse.” Presidents have used the 2002 authorization expansively to wage war worldwide. For example, President Donald Trump’s administration cited it in 2020 to justify the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
“Congress owes it to our servicemembers, veterans, and families to pass our bill repealing these outdated AUMFs and formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars,” Kaine said in a statement.
Young, a former U.S. Marine, noted that Iraq is technically still an enemy of the U.S. with the laws on the books.
“This inconsistency and inaccuracy should be corrected. Congress must do its job and take seriously the decision to not just commit America to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war,” he added.
The legislation repealing the two military authorizations is being co-sponsored in the House by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only member of Congress who opposed the 2001 authorization for military force in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
In the last Congress, the Democratic-controlled House passed the repeal of the 2002 AUMF as part of the annual defense bill. It’s unclear, however, whether the new Republican majority in the House would agree to bring legislation repealing the two authorizations to the floor for a vote even if the Senate approved it this year.