Senate Advances Legislation to Repeal Military Authorizations in Iraq

The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to advance legislation that would repeal two active authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq from the Gulf War and 2002.

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) cosponsored the legislation that passed 67-28 with bipartisan support. Now that the procedural vote has passed, “it can now be considered and debated ahead of a vote for final passage,” as the Hill noted.

The authorizations dates back decades. An AUMF was out in place for the Gulf War during late former President George H.W. Bush’s administration in 1991, and the other materialized in 2002 ahead of the invasion of Iraq under his son, former President George W. Bush.

Young said ahead of the vote he felt “many Americans will be surprised to learn that these authorizations…are still on the books” and added that repealing them “would affect no current military operations.”

He shared concerns that allowing them to linger opens the door “for abuse by the executive branch” while rescinding them would send a positive “message to our partner Iraq” and others in the region.

“Let us be clear — Saddam Hussein is dead, and we’re no longer worried about the threat posed by Iraq as stated in this AUMF, which we propose repealing,” he said.

Seventeen other Republicans joined Young in voting to advance the legislation, including Sens. Ted Budd (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), and J.D. Vance (R-MO).

If the bill clears the Senate on a final passage vote, it will head to the House of Representatives. Heritage Action, a conservative group, urged House Republicans to pursue repeals following Thursday’s action, the Hill reported:

Over the last several decades, Congress has allowed the executive branch to have nearly unchecked powers and unlimited authorities to act when it comes to the use of military force abroad,” the group’s Executive Director Jessica Anderson said in a statement. “This constitutional reset would put Congress back in the drivers’ seat and force lawmakers to regain the muscle memory necessary to carry out its war powers and authorize military force in the future.

Similar legislation has already been introduced in the House, per the outlet.

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