The Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed a vote on a bill that would repeal two authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) after Republicans on the committee pushed for a delay. The legislation would repeal the 2002 AUMF that was used to invade Iraq and the 1991 AUMF that was passed for the Gulf war.
Five Republican senators asked for hearings with top US officials on the AUMFs before voting on the bill. It’s not clear now when the vote could be held, but it will at least be delayed for a few days, if not longer.
The delay comes after the House passed a bill that would repeal the 2002 AUMF. The House version now goes to the Senate, but it’s not evident when there will be a vote. Since the Senate is working on its own expanded version, it means the two chambers could end up negotiating which one will reach President Biden’s desk.
Previous efforts to repeal the 2002 AUMF have passed through the House but died in the Senate. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he supported the effort and vowed to hold a vote on it, a sign that the bill has a chance. Before the House voted, the White House released a statement that said it would support repealing the 2002 AUMF since it wouldn’t affect current military operations.
The 2002 AUMF was last cited by the Trump administration to justify the January 2020 assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Current US military operations in the Middle East use the 2001 AUMF, which has been abused by US presidents the most.
There was a renewed in Congress to rein in the president’s war powers after Biden bombed Syria in February, although he did not cite an AUMF to justify the strikes. Instead, Biden cited Article II of the Constitution.