It’s been 20 years since the United States invaded Iraq and the Senate passed legislation today that finally puts an end to the war.
In a 66-30 vote, Senators passed S.316 that repeals the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs) to formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars. The legislation also puts the responsibility of authorization to declare war back on Congress.
The American Legion has long supported the repeal and held a press conference following the March 16 vote of 68-27 to advance the legislation. The conference was held alongside Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., who have led the bipartisan effort to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. Kaine and Young expressed in their remarks that the reason for the repeal is because “the enemy who we declared war against in ‘91 and ‘02 is no more” and for Congress to uphold “our most fundamental responsibility as federal legislatures to oversee the authorization of force, the conduct of military operations and ultimately oversee the circumstances under which we bring the men and women” into combat.
Article 1 in the U.S. Constitution states that Congress has the authority to declare war, but Kaine emphasized that previous administrations “of both parties have been unwilling to exercise the Article 1 responsibility for looking at matters for war, peace and diplomacy because it’s tough politics” and often defer to the president to make the decision.
“It is time for Congress to have their voice heard,” Young said. “I believe this will establish a very important precedent moving forward so the people I represent, the people Sen. Kaine represents, know that their voice will matter when it comes to important decisions of war and peace.”
The legislation now heads to the House for a vote, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said there is bipartisan support for the legislation to pass and be signed it law. Schumer said the vote to repeal the Iraq AUMFs honors the “over 4,000 who died in Iraq and their families, our servicemembers who served there, our veterans and all of the communities impacted by the war. We owe it to all of them to act.”