WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — Twenty years after the beginning of the Iraq War, Senator Tim Kaine is moving forward legislation that would repeal the military measures that made it possible in the first place.
Kaine, along with Todd Young (R-Ind.) and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), released the following statement on March 16, just ahead of the 20th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which kickstarted the Iraq War:
Twenty years ago, the United States invaded Iraq. Following great heroism by American troops, that mission is now over. The government of Iraq is now a strategic partner. Yet, the Authorization for Use of Military Force remains on the books because Congress has abdicated our responsibility to repeal it, leaving it subject to potential presidential misuse. It’s long past time for Congress to reassert its war powers. If our servicemembers have the courage to risk their lives to protect our country, then Congress, by comparison, should be able to make important decisions on matters of war, peace, and diplomacy.U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC)
The statement announced that in the coming weeks, the Senate will vote to pass Kaine and Young's bipartisan bill that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) against Iraq, formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars.
The original 1991 measure sanctioned the U.S.-led Gulf War, and the 2002 measure greenlighted the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. According to the Associated Press, the effort to repeal these measures has recently gained bipartisan support as lawmakers argue that war authorizations are no longer necessary and can also be misused.
The White House also issued a statement on Thursday, March 16 in support of the efforts to officially repeal the AUMFs.
“Repeal of these authorizations would have no impact on current U.S. military operations and would support this administration’s commitment to a strong and comprehensive relationship with our Iraqi partners,” the White House said.
An earlier version of the legislation was introduced it in 2019, and the House voted to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs in June 2021.
This latest version was first introduced by Kaine and Young, as well as Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Ca.-12), Chip Roy (R-Texas-21), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.-07) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.-04), in February. It passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 8 and on March 16, the Senate voted to move the legislation forward. There will now be an official vote in the Senate in the coming weeks.
"We urge our colleagues to honor the more than 1.5 million Americans who served during the Iraq War and their families by passing it," Kaine and Young concluded in their statement.
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