UNITED STATES: A U.S. Senate committee supported legislation on Wednesday to revoke two authorizations for past wars in Iraq, opening the door for a potential vote in the full Senate before the 20th anniversary of the last American invasion.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 13-8, approving a bill to revoke the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force, or AUMFs, against Iraq, the most recent attempt to reassert Congress’ role over the choice to dispatch troops into battle.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate’s Democratic majority, has stated that the bill’s full Senate vote may occur in the coming weeks. That would fall on the same day as the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.
Senator Tim Kaine, who has led attempts to repeal old AUMFs, said it is pointless to have the authorizations on the records.
In an interview, he said that Iraq was an enemy in 2002, adding, “They are increasingly becoming a security partner. We are collaborating with Iraq to battle ISIS and be vigilant against terrorist activity.”
For years, lawmakers have complained that by enacting and then failing to repeal sweeping, open-ended war authorizations that presidents have used for years to justify forces’ actions around the world, House has given the president too much discretion over whether troops should be sent into fight.
For instance, Republican Donald Trump, who was president at the time, said that the 2002 AUMF gave legal justification for the 2020 execution in Iraq of senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress, not the president. The likelihood of the proposal becoming legislation was uncertain. Despite support from lawmakers from both parties in the Senate and House of Representatives, there is also a sizable amount of opposition.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and Republican Representative Michael McCaul asked for a replacement that would be written in consultation with military leaders before repealing the current AUMFs.
“The piecemeal abolition of these Iraqi authorities is not a substantial contribution to war power reform,” said McCaul.