The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted to revoke the George W. Bush-era authority to use military force in Iraq and send it to the Senate.
Only one Democrat voted against the measure, while 49 Republicans joined the Democrats to withdraw the mandate. For years, Democrats and a smaller number of Republicans tried to recall Iraqi forces in 2002, arguing that the authorization was unnecessary and enabling the executive to keep Congress out of the loop over military decisions.
U.S. troops left Iraq about a decade ago, although a number of contractors and some service members remain amid efforts to destroy the ISIS terrorist group that emerged in the early 2010s.
“Congress has a historic opportunity to revoke this outdated authority and re-establish its proper authority on matters of war and peace,” House Speaker Gregory Meeks (DN.Y.) said Thursday after the mood said.
One of the sponsors of the bill, Representative Barbara Lee (D-California), said the Democrats are also pushing to revoke the authority of military power in Afghanistan in 2001 “so that no future president has the unilateral power to put us in endless wars to immerse. ”
“It’s been so long,” Lee said before the vote Thursday. “It is Congress’s responsibility to use power, and that authorization cannot be blank checks that remain authorizations for any government to use as they see fit.”
In 2001 and 2002, Lee voted against both war measures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Republicans who voted against the measure expressed concern that the withdrawal of the resolution of military forces would prevent the United States from responding quickly to terrorism in the Middle East.
“It is confusing to me that we are stumbling through a stand-alone recall without basic caution, without consulting the State Department, the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, without consulting the Government of Iraq and our coalition partners and allies. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who opposed the repeal, said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said Wednesday that he plans to bring the war-repeal law to the Senate floor later this year. The White House said in a statement (pdf) that he withdraws the 2002 resolution and says that there is no continued military activity in Iraq.
“The war in Iraq has been going on for almost a decade,” Schumer said on the floor of the Senate this week. “The authorization adopted in 2002 is no longer needed in 2021.”
But by ending the resolution on war power in Iraq, Schumer said it did not mean the United States was abandoning its obligations to the country, which had been plagued by war and conflict for decades. The measure will also not limit efforts to deal with ISIS terrorists, he said.
While Schumer criticized the Trump administration, he said the former commander-in-chief used the 2002 resolution to carry out an air strike on Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
Because of Schumer’s remarks and attempts to be led by Democrats to repeal the 2002 war resolution after the Soleimani air strike, McCaul – the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee –said he believes Thursday’s vote “feels like another political attempt to undo one of President Trump’s most courageous successes against terrorism.”
A Senate committee is expected to pass the House bill next week, he said.