Mar 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House panel advances bill to curb presidential war powers in Iraq

Joe Biden putting on a mask.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a resolution to repeal Congress' 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq, sending the measure to the full chamber for consideration.

Why it matters: The effort to repeal the AUMF — a longtime priority for members on both sides of the aisle — is expected to have widespread support among lawmakers. And for the first time, it has an amenable president in Joe Biden, according to Politico.

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki told Politico that Biden wants to "ensure that the authorizations for the use of military force currently on the books are replaced with a narrow and specific framework that will ensure we can protect Americans from terrorist threats while ending the forever wars.”
  • Democratic lawmakers at a news conference earlier this month indicated support for replacing the 2002 law with a more narrow AUMF, with a provision to have the authorization sunset after a certain amount of time.

Worth noting: Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) have introduced a similar measure in the Senate that would also repeal an authorization passed in 1991 before the first Gulf War.

Background: Congress first approved the nearly two-decades-old resolution to permit force against Saddam Hussein's government. It has since been cited by Presidents Obama and Trump to justify military actions in the Middle East without congressional approval.

Yes, but: Lawmakers have acknowledged that repealing the 2002 AUMF is likely to be easier than repealing another and more consequential AUMF approved in 2001.

  • The 2001 resolution approves military action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, and has been cited more broadly by presidents as justification for military action around the world.
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