Bipartisan lawmakers are making a push to end the Iraq war military authorizations as the U.S. nears the 20-year anniversary of its invasion of Iraq.
The push, led by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., seeks to bring an end to the 1991 and 2002 congressional authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF). Presidents of both parties have used the Iraq war powers bills to justify military action across the globe.
Menendez hopes to clear the Senate bill through his Foreign Relations Committee as early as next week, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he will bring it to the floor, according to Punchbowl News.
The legislation also reportedly enjoys majority support in the Republican-held House of Representatives, with Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., introducing that chamber's version of the bill.
If the bills move quickly enough, the AUMF repeal may come in time for the 20-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which began on March 19, 2003.
"Congress is responsible for both declaring wars and ending them because decisions as important as whether or not to send our troops into harm’s way warrant careful deliberation and consensus," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a co-sponsor of the repeal bills, said earlier in February. "The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse. Congress owes it to our service members, veterans and families to pass our bill repealing these outdated AUMFs and formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars."
"Repeal of the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs for the Gulf and Iraq Wars is long overdue and I am proud this Congress is asserting Congress’ constitutionally granted powers," Cole said in a statement announcing the repeal push. "Not only does this reflect Congress’ continuing oversight of our national security interests, it also executes this body’s fundamental responsibility to manage use of force authorities of past, current and future presidents. This is a critical step in the right direction to achieving this goal and I am proud to join with my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan and important legislation."
Congress last pushed to end the 2002 AUMF in 2021. The bill made it through the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate.
Some Republicans have argued that a new AUMF should be passed before ending the prior authorizations.