Senate clears hurdle to repeal Iraq war authorizations

Senate clears hurdle to repeal Iraq war authorizations

On Thursday, a bill that would repeal the authorizations for war in Iraq cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate with bipartisan support, and President Biden has signalled that he would sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

The measure would repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force in Iraq.

Eighteen Republicans, including Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Chuck Grassley, and Ron Johnson, joined Democrats in support of the bill, which was advanced in a 68-27 vote.

The final vote in the Senate is expected next week, which marks the 20th anniversary of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) hopes that both chambers will “finally speak in one voice and send the AUMF repeal to the president’s desk” on the anniversary.

Schumer argued that the repeal of the Iraq war authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs) wouldn’t “hinder our national defence.”

He added that the repeal is an important step in strengthening the relationship with Iraq.

The bill was supported by 18 Senate Republicans, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), a co-sponsor of the measure, said the bill would allow Congress to reassert its authority to declare war.

He also stated that it is time for Congress to have its voice heard on these matters, and he believes that this will establish a significant precedent moving forward.

The 2002 Iraq AUMF has been used by former Presidents Obama and Donald Trump to justify a broad range of military operations in the region that were conducted without congressional approval.

Obama used the 2002 AUMF to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

Trump used it to defend his order to take out Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.

In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House said repealing the war authorizations would not affect military operations in Iraq and would support the administration’s goals in the country.

The statement read that President Biden remains committed to working with Congress to replace outdated authorizations for the use of military force with a narrow and specific framework more appropriate for modern terrorist threats.

The bill will now go to the Republican-controlled House for a vote if it is passed by the Senate.

The House passed a similar Iraq AUMF-repeal bill in 2021. Some 2,500 US service members remain active in Iraq despite the end of combat operations in December 2021.

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