Chuck Schumer Calls for Removal of 2002 Iraq War Authorization

Chuck Schumer Calls for Removal of 2002 Iraq War Authorization

( – Congress passed the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to grant then-President George W. Bush the authority to use US military forces as “necessary” to protect American national security interests “against the continued threat” posed by Iraq.

Both the Obama and Trump administrations used the 2002 AUMF as part of their justification for engaging in US military operations overseas. For example, the Obama administration cited it as an “alternative statutory basis” for the use of force against ISIS in Iraq. Similarly, the Trump administration continued that practice and expanded it to include military action to address “threats to or stemming from” Iran, Syria “or elsewhere.”

Curiously, although the Obama administration invoked the 2002 AUMF, it also claimed it still supported the repeal of the authorization. Now, nearly 20 years after its passage, Congress appears poised to take action to repeal the authorization.

Chuck Schumer Calls for Repeal of the 2002 AUMF

On Wednesday, June 16, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced his support for the repeal of the 2002 AUMF. Schumer pointed out that the Iraq War ended in 2011, and “an authorization passed in 2002 is no longer necessary.” He also vowed to bring the matter to a vote in the Senate this year. Later that day, he tweeted that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrats would “markup a resolution” to repeal the dated measure next week.

The House of Representatives Led the Charge

The House has aggressively worked to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF for the last couple of years. It voted on a bipartisan basis to adopt an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act repealing the authorization proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The House voted two times in 2020 to repeal the measure, first as part of its January vote on H.R. 550, the No War Against Iran Act, and again in July in the annual defense appropriations bill, H.R. 7617.

The House of Representatives voted to repeal the Iraq AUMF on Thursday with the endorsement of the Biden administration. The measure passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 268 to 161.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), the House Foreign Affairs Committee head, called the vote a “historic turning point” shortly before House members voted on the measure.

Will the Measure Pass?

On February 17, 2021, a bipartisan coalition of 25 organizations sent a letter of support for the repeal of the authorization to members of Congress. The coalition included several noteworthy groups including the Brennan Center for Justice, the Center for American Policy, FreedomWorks, VoteVets, and the R Street Institute, to name a few.

As noted above, the measure already passed the House with bipartisan support, and the Biden administration and a bipartisan group of senators support the measure. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) proposed and introduced joint resolution S.J. Res. 10 to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF. So far, the measure has 13 cosponsors from both parties.

If the vote in the House is any indication, the measure should pass in the Senate with the support of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Copyright 2021,