The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday voted to approve a bill repealing two authorizations for the Iraq War, a move that will likely lead to a full vote in Congress later in the year, Politico reports.
All of the panel’s Democrats and three Republicans voted to support a bipartisan bill that would end two authorizations, one issued in 1991 and one in 2002, allowing for the use of American military forces in Iraq. Although the conflicts have largely ceased, U.S. troops remain in the country by invitation from its government, where they provide assistance on security and counterterrorism.
“Congressional action to repeal these authorizations will represent a step toward Congress taking its most solemn responsibility seriously,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., one of the leaders of the repeal movement, along with Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., “Allowing outdated authorizations to persist in perpetuity invites the prospect of serious abuses in the future.”
“There is no longer any legitimate purpose for the 1991 or 2002 [Authorizations for Use of Military Force],” Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez, D-N.J., added. “And the time has come for this committee to stop dealing in hypotheticals and to act responsibly.”
However, Republican legislators argued that repealing these authorizations would be a sign of weakness that would mean the commander in chief might be unable to authorize the use of force to respond to threats in the future.
“Here in the Senate, it is curious to see that some of our colleagues who are the most exercised about trying to undo authorizations for the use of military force are somehow also among the quietest when it comes to the unfolding disaster in Afghanistan and oversight of ongoing conflicts,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor Wednesday.
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