Spanberger, Kaine, Young, Roy, Lee, & Cole Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Repeal Outdated & Inactive War Authorizations, Restore Congressional War Powers

The Congresswoman’s Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation Would Formally End the Gulf & Iraq Wars

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) — as well as U.S. Representatives Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), and Tom Cole (R-OK-04) — reintroduced legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), formally end the Gulf and Iraq Wars, and reassert congressional authority to make decisions on issues of war and peace.

The 1991 AUMF was Congress’ authorization for the First Gulf War of 1991 in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait 32 years ago, and the 2002 AUMF authorized U.S. military action against the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein more than 20 years ago. This legislation to repeal these outdated authorities would help prevent U.S. Armed Forces from entering into another military conflict in the region without approval from Members of Congress and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 feedback and support of the American people. Additionally, the bill would enhance the relationship the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq.

“Voting on decisions of war and peace is a fundamental and constitutional responsibility for Members of Congress. We must be accountable to the American people and cannot abdicate this responsibility to open-ended AUMFs that give too much power to a President and don’t require Congress to take consequential votes,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to be a part of this serious, bipartisan effort — and I’d like to thank my fellow Virginian Senator Kaine for leading the charge to do what is right for the people we serve and the men and women who keep us safe.”

“Congress is responsible for both declaring wars and ending them because decisions as important as whether or not to send our troops into harm’s way warrant careful deliberation and consensus,” said Kaine. “The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse. Congress owes it to our servicemembers, veterans, and families to pass our bill repealing these outdated AUMFs and formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars.”

“In 1991, Congress authorized America’s involvement in the first Gulf War. Eleven years later, Congress again acted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. Today, Iraq is a strategic partner of the United States in advancing the security and stability of the Middle East,” said Young. “Sadly, according to these laws that are still on the books, Iraq is still technically an enemy of the United States. This inconsistency and inaccuracy should be corrected. Congress must do its job and take seriously the decision to not just commit America to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war. Our bipartisan legislation will repeal the outdated and unnecessary 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force and ensure Congress fulfills its constitutional responsibility.”

“The framers gave Congress the grave duty to deliberate the questions of war and peace, but for far too long this body has abdicated this duty,” said Roy. “We must do our job. Repealing the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs — which will not impact ongoing operations in the Middle East — is necessary to ensure these decades old and outdated authorities are not abused in the future. This would be a first step towards a clearer, more focused military strategy, a more responsible government, and a stronger, more united country.”

“Three presidents have come and gone since Congress last voted to authorize a US invasion of Iraq over twenty years ago; a fourth is now in office. Yet the legacy of these horrific forever wars lives on in the form of the now-obsolete 2002 and 1991 AUMFs,” said Lee. “I am proud to join Senators Kaine and Young leading this effort to finally repeal these authorizations. Reps Roy, Spanberger, Cole and I will be leading the charge in the House to restore our constitutionally protected Congressional war powers in a bipartisan fashion. It’s far past time to put decisions of military action back in the hands of the people, as the constitution intended.”

“Repeal of the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs for the Gulf and Iraq Wars is long overdue and I am proud this Congress is asserting Congress’ constitutionally granted powers,” said Cole. “Not only does this reflect Congress’ continuing oversight of our national security interests, it also executes this body’s fundamental responsibility to manage use of force authorities of past, current and future presidents. This is a critical step in the right direction to achieving this goal and I am proud to join with my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan and important legislation.”

The U.S. Senate bill is also cosponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Angus King (I-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). In addition to Spanberger, Roy, Lee, and Cole, the U.S. House bill is cosponsored by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA-02), Andy Ogles (R-TN-05), Gregory Meeks (D-NY-05), and Harriet Hageman (R-WY-AL).

Click here to read the full bill text.

BACKGROUND

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 June 2021, Spanberger joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives in voting to repeal the 2002 Iraq War Authorization (AUMF).

In March 2021, Spanberger co-led the introduction of bipartisan legislation that would help Congress reclaim its constitutional war powers by ending the 1957, 1991, and 2002 AUMFs — formally repealing the congressional authorizations for the Gulf and Iraq wars, as well as the Cold War-era authorization of force in the Middle East.

In May 2021, Spanberger also led the introduction of bipartisan legislation that would repeal the 1991 AUMF against Iraq, which a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House voted to pass in June 2021.

Click here to read a January 2020 op-ed Spanberger co-authored in the Washington Post alongside Republicans, Democrats, and an independent calling for Congress to reclaim its war-making authorities.

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