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US House votes to end 2002 Iraq war powers with bipartisan support

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer vows to bring resolution for vote later this year

Michael Hernandez   | 17.06.2021
US House votes to end 2002 Iraq war powers with bipartisan support FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON

The US House of Representatives voted Thursday to end the nearly two-decade-old war powers authorization that was originally intended to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The 268-161 vote saw broad bipartisan support in the House, but the effort to repeal the authorization faces an uncertain path in the Senate.

Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has signaled his willingness to bring the resolution to a vote later this year, saying the war powers approved in 2002 no longer have standing.

"The Iraq War's been over for nearly a decade," he said Wednesday on Twitter, noting that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will begin deliberations next week. "This Senate will vote on repeal."

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the resolution's chief sponsor, said that with the vote "we’re finally one step closer to ending forever wars."

Congress is constitutionally granted the power to declare war, not US presidents, and President Joe Biden is the first president to support the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) since it was enacted.

Questions have mounted about whether Congress has delegated too much war-making authority to the White House in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, particularly as the authorizations passed in the wake of the tragedy have been used far beyond what many viewed as their original scope.

The authorization was targeted squarely at authorization military operations against former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but it has been used to justify additional operations, including former US President Donald Trump's assassination of a top Iranian official in Baghdad in 2020.

A separate AUMF passed in 2001 authorized US presidents to target terrorist groups worldwide, particularly al-Qaeda and co-belligerents. It has been used far more sweepingly than the 2002 authorization.

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