Wednesday, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), applauded committee passage of their bipartisan legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq.
“For decades, Congress has been content to cede our Constitutionally mandated role of approving wars to the Executive Branch. Despite the war in Iraq being over for years, and the Government of Iraq now being our partner, the authorities for that war remain on the books and open to potential abuses,” said Senator Young. “Since being elected to the Senate, reasserting the proper role of Congress in critical matters of when, and how, to use force has been one of my top priorities. I’m proud that with today’s vote to pass my bipartisan legislation, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took the first step toward retaking these critical authorities. I look forward to the full Senate repealing these authorities in the coming weeks and formally bringing the war in Iraq to an end.”
The legislation will formally end the authorizations for the Gulf and Iraq wars, reasserting Congress’ vital role in not only declaring wars, but in ending them. The repeal of these authorizations will also recognize the strong partnership that the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq and reflect the end of the U.S. combat mission there. In June, the House voted to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs.
“Congress has a responsibility to repeal these unnecessary war authorizations,” said Senator Kaine. “Keeping the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs on the books would only risk future misuse and undermine our partnership with Iraq. Iraq is not an enemy and we should not treat it as if it is. I’m glad that my effort to repeal these outdated AUMFs, which I have spearheaded since arriving to Congress, has finally reached this pivotal point. I hope the Senate will promptly pass this bill and President Biden will soon sign this measure into law to show the American people that the Article I and II branches can work together on these critical issues.”
For years, Young and Kaine have been the leading voices in Congress raising concerns over the use of military force without congressional authorization. They have pushed for the repeal of outdated AUMFs to reassert Congress’ role in authorizing military action and take away the blank check that multiple Presidents have used to fight wars across the globe.
Young and Kaine’s legislation is an effort to prevent the future misuse of the expired Gulf and Iraq War authorizations and strengthen Congressional oversight over war powers. Repealing these authorities will not impact ongoing U.S. operations to counter ISIS.
You can read the bill text here.
To watch Senator Young’s remarks, click here.