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Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Sens. Young and Kaine introduce bill to formerly end authorizations for Gulf, Iraq wars

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Legislation that would formally end the authorizations for the Gulf and Iraq wars was introduced in the U.S. Senate this week.

Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) reintroduced their bipartisan legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq.

The lawmakers say the repeal of these authorizations recognizes the “strong partnership” the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq. It is also an effort to prevent the future misuse of the expired Gulf and Iraq War authorizations and strengthen Congressional oversight over war powers. Young and Kaine have long raised concerns over the use of military force without congressional authorization.

“It has been thirty years since the first Gulf War began and nineteen years since the United States went back into Iraq. In the years since, Congress has been operating on autopilot when it comes to our essential duties to authorize the use of military force. The fact that authorities for both of these wars are still law today is illustrative of the bipartisan failure of Congress to perform its constitutionally-mandated oversight role,” Young said. “Today, Senator Tim Kaine and I have re-introduced our bipartisan legislation to continue our fight to repeal these outdated war authorities. Congress must not shy away from this debate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to advance this important legislation.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Rand Paul (R-KY).

“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the Executive Branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. “Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary. The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs that underpinned the war against Iraq need to be taken off the books to prevent their future misuse. They serve no operational purpose, keep us on permanent war footing, and undermine the sovereignty of Iraq, a close partner. I call on Congress to promptly take up this measure and for the Biden Administration to support it to finally show the American people that the Article I and II branches can work together on these issues.”

This repeal has no impact on the ongoing U.S. operations to counter ISIS.