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Iraqi army and Peshmerga forces conduct and operation against the a terror group. U.S. military leaders have said they are confident in Iraqi security forces' ability to operate independently. Photo: Rewa Mahmood Hasan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The House voted 268-161 on Thursday to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, almost two decades after the resolution was first passed by Congress.

Why it matters: If passed by the Senate, the repeal of the AUMF would prevent U.S. presidents from carrying out attacks in Iraq without securing prior approval from Congress. The House also voted to repeal AUMF last year, but the measure was not taken up in the Senate and the Trump administration opposed the move.

  • 49 Republicans voted in favor of the repeal this year — only 10 had supported it during last year's House vote.

The big picture: At the height of the Iraq War, over 150,000 service members were stationed in Iraq. The U.S. pulled 2,200 troops from Iraq last year, returning troop levels in the country to about the same number in 2015.

  • Between 2015 and 2020, U.S.-led air and artillery strikes killed nearly 1,400 civilians in Iraq and Syria, per the Washington Post. Some say the actual number is higher.
  • The resolution was cited as recently as last year to justify the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

What to watch: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has committed to holding a vote on repealing the 2002 AUMF this year, saying it would "eliminate the danger of a future administration reaching back into the legal dustbin to use it as a justification for military adventurism."

  • President Biden has also come out in support of repealing the authorization. The White House said in a statement that the U.S. has "no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis."
  • "[T]he President is committed to working with the Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are repealed with a narrow and specific framework appropriate to ensure that we can continue to protect Americans from terrorist threats," the White House said.

The big picture: The 2001 AUMF, which authorizes the U.S. to target perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, is viewed as a far more sweeping, blank-check resolution that has been cited for U.S. military activity all over the world.

  • The 2001 AUMF is still in effect and there is no sign that it will be repealed by Congress in the near future.
  • In his statement on the Iraq resolution, Biden mentioned working with Congress on "repealing and replacing other existing authorizations of military force" while ensuring "clear authority to address threats."

Go deeper

Red flags for Biden's "over-the-horizon" strategy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration's "over-the-horizon" strategy in Afghanistan is drawing serious questions from lawmakers and counterterrorism experts, as the U.S. withdrawal shifts calculations about threats and capabilities.

Driving the news: Tensions ramped up in an Aug. 27 conference call between President Biden's top national security officials and senators from both parties, sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios. One said members of the intelligence community label it, derisively, the "over-the-rainbow" strategy.

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

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Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.