The US Senate repealed the authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs) against Iraq Wednesday by a vote of 66-30.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made opening remarks addressing the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs formerly passed by Congress. He said:
The United States, Iraq, the entire world has changed dramatically since 2002. These AUMFs have outlived their use. Every year we keep these AUMFs on the books is another chance for a future administration to abuse them. War powers belong in the hands of Congress, and so we have an obligation to prevent future presidents from exploiting these AUMFS to bumble us into a new Middle East conflict.
These joint resolutions authorized the use of the armed forces by former presidents during the war in Iraq. Specifically, the 1991 resolution was the initial approval, where Congress cited force was necessary due to the threat posed by “Iraq’s conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons… and its demonstrated willingness to use weapons of mass destruction.” The 2002 resolution continued this authorization, while also acknowledging the “national security interests of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region.” The bill moves onto the House for a vote next.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed his disagreement with the repeal when he stated:
I am opposed to Congress sunsetting any military force authorizations in the Middle East. Our terrorist enemies aren’t sunsetting their war against us. And when we deploy our service members in harm’s way, we need to supply them with all the support and legal authorities that we can.
This vote comes nine months after the Senate advanced a bill that would provide health care and other resources to veterans injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from exposure to toxic military burn pits.