Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday announced his support for repealing the 2002 authorization for military force in Iraq almost 20 years after voting for it in Congress.
“I strongly and fully support repealing the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. This is the first time I’m announcing my support for repeal,” Schumer said in a floor speech, vowing to hold a vote on it this year.
The New York senator, who faces reelection next year, said repeal “will eliminate the danger of a future administration reaching into the legal dustbin to use it as a justification for military adventurism.”
The 2002 authorization for use of military force, or AUMF, gave President George W. Bush approval to invade Iraq, a disastrous conflict that cost countless lives and trillions of dollars. Schumer supported the measure along with 28 other Senate Democrats.
Presidents have used the 2002 authorization ― as well as the original 2001 version that greenlighted the use of force against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups ― expansively to wage war all over the world. For example, President Donald Trump’s administration used it in 2020 to partially justify killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
On Thursday, the House is expected to vote on and pass legislation from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2002 AUMF. Lee was the lone vote against the 2001 AUMF following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The Biden administration issued a statement in support of Lee’s bill this week, saying it “would likely have a minimal impact on current military operations.” Of course, the big question is what if anything will replace the 2001 AUMF that is still being used today.
“The President is committed to working with the Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are replaced with a narrow and specific framework appropriate to ensure that we can continue to protect Americans from terrorist threats,” the White House added in the statement.