A historic bipartisan bill to repeal the war powers authorizations enacted in 2001 and 2002 has passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a 268-161 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate.

The repeal targets the 2002 and 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was granted after the 9/11 attacks. Former President George W. Bush used these powers to launch the invasion of Iraq.

The 2002 authorization has been used repeatedly to launch military actions. Recently, President Donald Trump used the power to execute Iranian target General Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

In the Senate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) has also sponsored a “joint resolution to repeal the authorizations for use of military force against Iraq, and for other purposes.” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has voiced his support. “It will eliminate the danger of a future administration reaching back into the legal dustbin to use it as a justification for military adventurism,” he said.

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This repeal is important because it signals a shift in attitudes about the use of force in the United States. It has been over a decade since the Iraq War, and the recent usage of the acts has been highly controversial.

“It’s Congress’ responsibility to authorize the use of force, and that authorization cannot be blank checks that stay as authorizations for any administration to use the way they see fit,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California), the sponsor of the repeal.

Opposition to the repeals has come from both sides of the aisle. Notably, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who expressed concern at the United State’s ability to continue fighting terrorism should the repeal go through.

“Reality is more complicated, more dangerous, and less politically convenient than its supporters believe,” McConnell said. “The fact of the matter is the legal and practical application of the 2002 AUMF extends far beyond the defeat of Saddam Hussein’s regime. And tossing it aside without answering real questions about our ongoing efforts in the region is reckless.”

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