Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday he would back a bill to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, teeing up a Senate vote after its expected passage in the House.
Schumer said in a floor speech its repeal will stop future administrations from “reaching back into the legal dustbin” to justify “military adventurism,” pointing to former President Donald Trump’s use of the authorization to defend airstrikes in the Middle East.
Schumer said he “strongly” supports repeal, saying Wednesday is the first time he has ever stated that position – though he voted against tabling a repeal measure in 2017.
A resolution by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) will be taken up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week, Schumer said, vowing to give the bill a vote this year.
The announcement comes just a day after the White House endorsed a repeal bill set to be voted on by the House this week – and President Joe Biden has also reportedly expressed interest in repealing and replacing the 2001 authorization for the war in Afghanistan.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) said in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday she supports repeal, echoing Schumer’s concerns about the authorization being used to justify military action not authorized by Congress.
“The Iraq War has been over for nearly a decade, and authorization passed in 2002 is not longer necessary in 2021. It’s been nearly 10 years since this particular authorization was cited as a primary justification for military authorization,” Schumer said, adding that it “no longer serves a vital purpose in our fight against violent extremists in the Middle East.”
A coalition of isolationist Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats tried to repeal the authorization in 2017, but most Republicans and over a dozen Democrats in the chamber voted to table it. The Democrat-controlled House passed a repeal measure last January, but it failed to get consideration in the GOP-controlled Senate.
4. That’s the number of Democrats who voted against repealing it in 2020 – all moderates. However, 14 Republicans crossed over to vote for the measure, including moderates like Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus like Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).