WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives in voting to repeal outdated war authorities and protect U.S. servicemembers and personnel stationed in the Middle East.
Spanberger voted to pass a bipartisan amendment to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Iraq Resolution of 2002. Additionally, she helped pass a resolution to prevent U.S. entry into a war with Iran if it lacks congressional approval.
The 2002 AUMF was originally drafted to authorize military action against the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein. Its repeal would have no impact on current U.S. military operations in the Middle East, but it would help prevent U.S. Armed Forces from entering into another military conflict in the region without approval from Members of Congress and without the support of the American people.
During a speech on the floor of the U.S. House ahead of the vote, Spanberger voiced the need to repeal the 2002 AUMF and preserve the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, she described how Central Virginia servicemembers and their families have waited too long to see their elected officials debate and vote on future U.S. military action.
Click here to watch her full speech. A transcript of her remarks is below:
I rise today in support of repealing the 2002 AUMF.
The repeal of this authorization, which in 2002 authorized our use of military force in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, would have no effect—none—on current U.S. military operations. And to be clear, as a former CIA officer who worked counterterrorism issues, our own nation’s security is always my priority.
Today’s vote is about that—our national security and the responsibility of Congress to exercise its constitutional authority over decisions of war and peace.
It is not about one particular president, party, or administration—it’s about Congress’ constitutional responsibility, our duty to debate and vote on sending our nation’s servicemembers off to war. But Congress has long evaded this duty, allowing president after president to use the 2001 AUMF—not this one, the one we’re discussing today—to authorize varied military operations without Congress taking responsibility.
After nearly two decades, the American people have waited to see principled leadership on ending the cycle of endless war. We must update the 2001 AUMF, but today’s vote is on the now-defunct 2002 AUMF.
Repealing this AUMF is a good first step towards Congress taking responsibility on behalf of the American servicemembers we represent.
Earlier this month, Spanberger voted to reassert congressional war powers authority and called for Congress to address outdated AUMFs. Following the vote, she co-led an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for Congress to reassert its constitutional authority by repealing the dormant 2002 AUMF and debating and voting on an update to the 2001 AUMF. Spanberger co-wrote the op-ed alongside U.S. Representatives Justin Amash (I-MI-03), Ken Buck (R-CO-04), Jared Golden (D-ME-02), Scott Perry (R-PA-10), Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), and Chip Roy (R-TX-21).
In July 2019, Spanberger also voted in favor of U.S. Representative Barbara Lee’s (D-CA-13) bipartisan amendment to repeal the 2002 AUMF, which is identical to the amendment passed in the U.S. House today. And in July 2019, Spanberger cosponsored and helped pass a bipartisan amendment to prohibit the unauthorized use of military force against Iran.
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has sought to strongly reassert the constitutional role of Congress in authorizing the use of U.S. military force. In July 2019, the U.S. House voted to pass a joint resolution Spanberger led to block the sale of certain offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia.
And earlier in 2019, she joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House in passing a resolution that would remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in Yemen, which were not authorized by Congress.
Spanberger has also advocated for a reexamined, smart strategy toward future U.S. engagement with Iran—while also making sure the United States continues to protect its key interests and support close allies. In July 2019, she co-led an effort calling on the administration to articulate a clear strategy in dealing with Iran’s destabilizing behavior.