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17 Jun, 2021 12:49

US House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war authorization, bill moves on to Senate

US House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war authorization, bill moves on to Senate

The House of Representatives has voted to repeal the 2002 ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq’ (AUMF), which allowed the US military to invade Iraq in 2003 and depose Saddam Hussein. The vote passed 268 to 161.

Some 49 House Republicans voted in favor of the repeal on Thursday. Only one Democrat – Elaine Luria of Virginia – voted against. The passage of HR 256 comes just one day after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) expressed his support for bringing the repeal to the Senate.

“Authorization passed in 2002 is no longer necessary in 2021,” Schumer said on Wednesday, despite clarifying that his support did not mean the US is “abandoning the country and the shared fight” against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Schumer added that it would stop future presidential administrations from “reaching back into the legal dustbin to use it as a justification for military adventurism.”

The House bill was sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee (D-California), who has also signaled her intention to fight for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF – which allowed the president to use force against those he perceived as having “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

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Many Democratic lawmakers had publicly expressed their support for the bill, including Representatives Ted Lieu (D-California), Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), Jamaal Bowman (D-New York), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).

“For nearly two decades, the outdated 2002 Iraq AUMF has been used to justify military action without Congressional approval,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday. “No president should be able to sidestep Congress and act unilaterally on matters of war. It’s time to repeal this authorization and #StopEndlessWar.”

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Massachusetts), a US Marine veteran, praised the bill in a video, declaring that it’s “not normal and it’s not acceptable for servicemembers to be fighting in a war that began before they were born.”

Several Republicans in the House and Senate had also expressed support for the repeal, with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina) among those co-sponsoring the bill.

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Michigan), a US Army Iraq War veteran, also a co-sponsor, calling it “Constitutional hygiene.”

“I definitely went into my Iraq deployment in 2010 with a sense of optimism, but left with a strong sense of pessimism,” he said in April, adding, “We need people in office who understand the severity, who understand the consequences.”

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Other Republicans, however, have been vocal in their opposition to the repeal. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) accused Democrat co-sponsors of “playing politics with national security in an effort to taint one of President Trump’s biggest national security successes.”

The bill now advances to the Senate where it will need 60 votes to pass.

President Joe Biden’s White House endorsed the move on Monday, saying that it “would likely have minimal impact on current military operations.”

“The President is committed to working with the Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are replaced with a narrow and specific framework appropriate to ensure that we can continue to protect Americans from terrorist threats,” its statement read.

The United States military has been engaged in Iraq, in some form or other, for over 30 years.

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