- The House voted to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq.
- The 2002 AUMF paved the way for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
- There’s a growing bipartisan effort to scrap post-9/11 laws that gave presidents broad authority to wage war.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq and begin the process of stripping presidents of the war powers they’ve used for over two decades.
The resolution, sponsored by Democratic. Rep. Barbara Lee of California, passed in a 268-161 vote largely along party lines – though 49 House Republicans voted in favor of it. Lee was the sole lawmaker to vote against the 2001 AUMF, which was passed just days after the 9/11 terror attacks and has been the linchpin of the global war on terror, and also voted against the 2002 AUMF.
“My bill to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF passed the House. After nearly 20 years of fighting for this, we’re finally one step closer to ending forever wars,” Lee said in a tweet on Thursday.
The measure – part of an effort to curb presidential war powers – will now be debated in the Senate. The Biden administration endorsed the bill earlier this week, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said he backed the push to repeal the 2002 AUMF.
“The Iraq War has been over for nearly a decade. An authorization passed in 2002 is no longer necessary in 2021,” Schumer said. Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana have co-sponsored a resolution similar to Lee’s that would repeal the 2002 and 1991 war authorizations in Iraq. Schumer said he intends to bring the measures to a vote on the Senate floor this year.
There’s been growing bipartisan support in Washington in recent years to rein in presidential war powers and scrap laws passed in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks that effectively gave multiple presidents a blank check to wage war.
The 2002 AUMF, which was approved in October 2002, paved the way for the US invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush in March 2003. Then-President Donald Trump in 2020 also cited the 2002 AUMF to justify a drone strike in Iraq that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, which pushed Washington and Tehran to the brink of war.
A measure to repeal the 2002 AUMF passed in the House last year but it wasn’t taken up in the Senate and the Trump administration was against it.
The 2001 AUMF is widely viewed as the larger problem in terms of presidents being afforded too much authority when it comes to US military activities abroad. The law has been used to justify at least 41 military operations in 19 countries. Lee and other lawmakers are continuing an effort to do away with and potentially replace the 2001 AUMF. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has pledged to work “on repealing and replacing other existing authorizations of military force.”