House voted Thursday to repeal the 2002 resolution that cleared the way for the US invasion of Iraq, as the Senate prepared to take up similar legislation.
“Nearly 20 years have passed since the Congress passed the 2002 authorization of military force and 10 years have passed since the formal end of the US military operations in Iraq,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “And yet today, 10 years later, our nation is still operating under an outdated authorization of military force which risks being used, and in some cases has been used, as a blank check to conduct unrelated military operations.”
The repeal resolution, passed 268-161, was sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California who has pushed for years for Congress to repeal the authorization. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against a 2001 AUMF clearing US military action in Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks. She also voted, along with several other members, against the 2002 authorization.
“We cannot revise history as it relates to why this authorization was put into place,” Lee said on the House floor. “Yet this authority remains on the books, vulnerable to misuse, because Congress has not acted to remove it.”
Lawmakers of both parties have complained for years that presidents have used the authorizations for the use of military force, or AUMFs, as blank checks for intervention far removed from the original targets, such as ousting Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and sending troops into Afghanistan to defeat the al-Qaeda terrorists behind Sept. 11. But efforts have foundered on defining how much or little leeway presidents should have in the uncertain constitutional territory between a president’s power as commander-in-chief and that of Congress to declare war.
“Now is the time for bold action to end our forever wars. We must seize this opportunity to reassert Congress’s constitutional authority on matters of war and peace,” Lee said in a statement ahead of the vote.
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