On Thursday, the House voted to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that was used for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The bill passed in a vote of 268 to 161, with 49 Republicans voting in favor of the repeal and only one Democrat voting against it.
The effort was led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). “Repeal can prevent our country from entering another protected protracted engagement under this outdated authority,” Lee said on Thursday. “We can’t afford to leave this in place indefinitely. For two decades, it has been in place. This is our opportunity to restore our constitutional role.”
Previous efforts to repeal the 2002 AUMF passed through the House but failed in the Senate. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) expressed support for repealing the 2002 AUMF and vowed to bring a vote on it to the floor of the Senate this year, a sign that the legislation has a good chance of making it to President Biden’s desk.
On Monday, the White House said it supports repealing the war authorization since it will have little impact on current US military operations. “The administration supports the repeal of the 2002 AUMF, as the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis, and repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations,” the White House said in a statement.
The 2002 AUMF was last cited by the Trump administration to justify the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020.
There was a renewed push in Congress to rein in the president’s war powers after Biden bombed Syria back in February. As the White House statement said, repealing the 2002 AUMF will not change much. The 2001 AUMF that was passed in the wake of the September 11th attacks is the one that is used to authorize current US wars in the Middle East.