December 9, 2023

US President George W. Bush (L) speaks prior to signing the Joint Congressional Resolution to Authorize US Use of Force against Iraq if necessary, October 16, 2002, at the White House in Washington, DC. From L are House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Joyce Naltchayan | AFP | Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to revoke the 2002 war permit in Iraq as Congress seeks to limit the president’s discretion in the use of military force.

The chamber passed the measure by a margin of 268 to 161. Forty-nine Republicans backed them except for one Democrat.

The bill goes to the Senate, where the GOP is split over whether to support them. The Chamber’s Foreign Relations Committee plans to proceed next week with its own plan to revoke authorization for the use of military force.

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President Joe Biden supports the House Bill of Representatives to Repeal the Iraq War. His Office of Management and Budget said this week that “the United States has no ongoing military activities relying solely on the 2002 AUMF as its domestic legal basis, and repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on ongoing military operations to have.”

Legislators from both parties have feared that leaving the approval in place will give the presidents legal backing to justify independent military strikes. The Iraq war ended almost a decade ago.

The House of Representatives voted to lift the measure in January 2020 after the US launched an air strike in Iraq that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The Senate, then held by Republicans, did not pass the bill. The Trump administration named the approval measure as the legal basis for the air strike.

(R) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hold a critical press conference at the U.S. Capitol on October 4, 2017 in Washington . Direct current.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, spearheaded legislation that the House of Representatives passed Thursday. Lee, a longtime anti-war advocate, was the only House MP who voted against the war permit in Afghanistan in 2001.

“This authority remains on the books and is prone to abuse as Congress failed to act to remove it,” Lee said in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said Wednesday that he would vote on revoking the Iraq warrant this year. He said the revocation of the permit would “remove the risk of a future government resorting to the legal dustbin to be used as a justification for military adventure”.

Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Signaled Thursday that he would oppose the war permit being lifted, despite support for his faction.

U.S. Army Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force Iraq, man a defensive position on Forward Operating Base Union III in Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019.

US Army | Reuters

“The fact is that the legal and practical application of the 2002 AUMF goes well beyond the defeat of Saddam Hussein’s regime,” he said. “To throw it aside without answering real questions about our own efforts in the region is reckless.”

Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., And Todd Young, R-Ind., Led efforts to overturn the measure in the Senate.

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