House votes to repeal Bush-era authorization for war in Iraq

In 2002, Congress passed a resolution allowing for the use of military force in Iraq. This week, the House of Representatives voted to repeal it. 

According to the Associated Press, the repeal measure passed the lower chamber in a 268–161 vote on Thursday.

Although support for the move largely came from Democrats, some 49 Republican members of the House backed it, as well.

Meanwhile, Virginia Democrat Elaine Luria was the only member of her party to cast a vote in opposition, the AP said.

“Endless war”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat who backed repealing the authorization of force, said such a move is “crucial,” echoing complaints from critics that the original measure enabled military actions well beyond its intended purpose.

“It has already been used as justification for military actions against entities that had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist dictatorship simply because such entities were operating in Iraq,” he noted, according to the AP.

Efforts to repeal the authorization were led by Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), who voted against its original enactment, as well as a similar authorization for use of force in Afghanistan, the AP noted.

“To this day, our endless war continues costing trillions of dollars and thousands of lives in a war that goes way beyond any scope that Congress conceived or intended,” Lee declared.

“No good reason”

On the flip side, GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas acknowledged his Democrat colleagues’ concerns, but felt it was inappropriate to repeal the authorization without putting some alternative in its place. “We should not encourage any president to go it alone without Article I congressional authorization,” he said, according to the AP.

The repeal will now move on to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has already signaled that it will receive his blessing.

Last year, Schumer was among those who criticized then-president Donald Trump’s use of the authorization to assassinate Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani.

“There is no good reason to allow this legal authority to persist in case another reckless commander in chief tries the same trick in the future,” he asserted in a January 2020 statement.

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