Friday, the United States Senate voted 68-27 to advance bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars.
The Senate is expected to officially proceed to the bill on Tuesday, March 21, followed by amendment debate and a final vote in the following days.
After Friday’s vote, Senators Young and Kaine spoke at a press conference with members of the American Legion.
“The Senate has begun voting on this important legislation and we are confident that in the coming days it will pass. When it does, Congress will have taken an important step towards reclaiming its constitutional authority, while honoring the sacrifices of our veterans in the process,” said Senator Young.
“I think many Americans will be surprised to learn that these authorizations for use of military force – or AUMFs – especially the 1991 Gulf War resolution – are still on the books,” said Senator Young. “Practically, repeal of the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs is very important because of the message they send to our partner Iraq and to our other partners in the region. Let us be clear – Saddam Hussein is dead and we are no longer worried about the threat posed by Iraq, as stated in the AUMF. Iraq has faced pressure from Iran for the past 20 years. The presence of the 1991 and the 2002 AUMFs has not changed that. Going forward, as Iraq continues to face Iranian coercion and violence, we must stand with them as partners – not as our enemy.”
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, leaving them subject to potential misuse by the Executive Branch. The bill would reassert Congress’ constitutional role in deciding whether and when to send our servicemembers into harm’s way and enhance the relationship the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq.
Young and Kaine have been leading voices in Congress on the need to repeal outdated AUMFs to prevent potential misuse and have raised concerns over the use of military force without congressional authorization. Their bill has garnered strong bipartisan support since they first introduced it in 2019.