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House set to repeal 2002 Iraq war authorization

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday is poised to repeal the 2002 war powers resolution that authorized the use of military force in Iraq, a reversal that Democrats have been trying to enact for years.

The White House said earlier this week that it supports the measure, proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., because “the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis, and repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations.”

Biden is committed to working with Congress to ensure “that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are replaced with a narrow and specific framework appropriate to ensure that we can continue to protect Americans from terrorist threats,” the White House said.

The repeal of the war powers resolutions from 2002 as well as from 2001, which authorized the U.S.-led invasion into Afghanistan, has come up for debate numerous times through the years, typically when presidents have relied on them for military action. Democrats especially have criticized the Iraq war resolution as a mistake predicated on false intelligence about the threat of weapons of mass destruction and have said the 2001 resolution has given presidents too much leeway to wage war.

In 2011, President Barack Obama withdrew U.S. troops in Iraq but redeployed the military in 2014, citing the war authorizations, to fight the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS. Biden has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan before Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

In early 2020, the House adopted a resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s military actions in Iran after the United States killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Iran retaliated with a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that he plans to bring the Iraq war authorization repeal to the Senate floor.

“The Iraq war has been over for nearly a decade, an authorization passed in 2002 was no longer necessary in 2021,” Schumer said. “It’s been nearly 10 years since this particular authorization has been cited as a primary justification for military — for a military operation. It no longer serves a vital purpose in our fight against violent extremists in the Middle East.”

Lee’s measure previously was passed by the House as part of defense policy bills but was never signed into law.

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