Today, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), and Tom Cole (R-OK-04) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), to formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars, and to reassert Congress’ Constitutional role in deciding whether and when to send our servicemembers into harm’s way. The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs—which passed 32 and 20 years ago, respectively—authorized the use of force for the Gulf and Iraq wars, but Congress has failed to repeal these AUMFs to prevent potential misuse by future presidents. This bill would also enhance the relationship the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq.
“In 1991, Congress authorized America’s involvement in the first Gulf War. Eleven years later, Congress again acted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. Today, Iraq is a strategic partner of the United States in advancing the security and stability of the Middle East. Sadly, according to these laws that are still on the books, Iraq is still technically an enemy of the United States. This inconsistency and inaccuracy should be corrected. Congress must do its job and take seriously the decision to not just commit America to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war. Our bipartisan legislation will repeal the outdated and unnecessary 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force and ensure Congress fulfills its constitutional responsibility,” said Senator Young.
“Congress is responsible for both declaring wars and ending them because decisions as important as whether or not to send our troops into harm’s way warrant careful deliberation and consensus,” said Senator Kaine. “The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse. Congress owes it to our servicemembers, veterans, and families to pass our bill repealing these outdated AUMFs and formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars.”
“Three presidents have come and gone since Congress last voted to authorize a US invasion of Iraq over twenty years ago; a fourth is now in office. Yet the legacy of these horrific forever wars lives on in the form of the now-obsolete 2002 and 1991 AUMFs. I am proud to join Senators Kaine and Young leading this effort to finally repeal these authorizations. Reps Roy, Spanberger, Cole and I will be leading the charge in the House to restore our constitutionally protected Congressional war powers in a bipartisan fashion. It’s far past time to put decisions of military action back in the hands of the people, as the constitution intended,” said Representative Lee.
“The framers gave Congress the grave duty to deliberate the questions of war and peace, but for far too long this body has abdicated this duty. We must do our job. Repealing the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs — which will not impact ongoing operations in the Middle East — is necessary to ensure these decades old and outdated authorities are not abused in the future. This would be a first step towards a clearer, more focused military strategy, a more responsible government, and a stronger, more united country,” said Representative Roy.
“Voting on decisions of war and peace is a fundamental and constitutional responsibility for Members of Congress. We must be accountable to the American people and cannot abdicate this responsibility to open-ended AUMFs that give too much power to a President and don’t require Congress to take consequential votes,” said Representative Spanberger. “I’m proud to be a part of this serious, bipartisan effort — and I’d like to thank my fellow Virginian Senator Kaine for leading the charge to do what is right for the people we serve and the men and women who keep us safe.”
“Repeal of the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs for the Gulf and Iraq Wars is long overdue and I am proud this Congress is asserting Congress’ constitutionally granted powers,” said Representative Cole. “Not only does this reflect Congress’ continuing oversight of our national security interests, it also executes this body’s fundamental responsibility to manage use of force authorities of past, current and future presidents. This is a critical step in the right direction to achieving this goal and I am proud to join with my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan and important legislation.”
Senators Young and Kaine’s bill has garnered strong bipartisan support since they first introduced it in 2019, and their bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) in August 2021. The House voted to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs in June 2021.
Senators Young and Kaine have been leading voices in Congress on the need to repeal outdated AUMFs to prevent potential misuse and have raised concerns over the use of military force without congressional authorization.
In addition to Senators Young and Kaine, the Senate bill is cosponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Angus King (I-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.). In addition to Representatives Lee, Roy, Spanberger, and Cole, the House bill is cosponsored by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA-02), Andy Ogles (R-TN-05), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM-03), Gregory Meeks (D-NY-05), and Harriet Hageman (R-WY-At-Large).
Full text of the bill is available here.