06.17.21

Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Legislation to Repeal the 2002 AUMF Passes the House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) today applauded the passage of her legislation, HR 256, to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

The 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force was passed 20 years ago to utilize military forces to combat the Saddam Hussein Regime in Iraq.  Today, almost fifteen years after the death of Saddam Hussein, this outdated authorization has no relevancy to the threats our nation faces. If the 2002  AUMF remains on the books, it could be used for military action Congress never intended to authorize.

This is the first time Congresswoman Lee’s legislation will be considered by the House as a standalone bill. In previous sessions of Congress, she offered a repeal of the 2002 AUMF as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill and Appropriations bills. The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of Congresswoman Lee’s legislation, demonstrating strong support from President Biden.

“Two decades after casting the single “no” vote against the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, we have seen every administration since utilize the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs to conduct war far beyond the scope Congress ever intended,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Let’s be clear: U.S. military operations carried out under the 2002 AUMF officially concluded in 2011 and this authorization no longer serves any operational purpose. As long as it remains on the books, the law is susceptible to further abuse by any President.

“Now is the time for bold action to end our forever wars. We must seize this opportunity to reassert Congress’s Constitutional authority on matters of war and peace. This effort extends beyond repealing the 2002 AUMF – we must also work to repeal the overly broad 2001 AUMF so that no future president has the unilateral power to plunge us into endless wars. 

“I’d like to thank Leader Hoyer, Speaker Pelosi, and Whip Clyburn for bringing this bill to the floor. I’d also like to thank Chairman Meeks for his leadership on this issue in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman McGovern with the Rules Committee, Chairman Schiff of the Intelligence Committee, and so many others for helping us get to this point.  The fight to end forever wars has been a comprehensive movement from advocates and activists, and without their work, we wouldn’t be in this position today.

“Finally, I would also like to thank Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez for their leadership and commitment to bringing the 2002 AUMF repeal to Senate the floor. I’m thrilled to see the Senate build on our momentum in the House to end forever wars. I will continue working with Senators Kaine and Young to get this legislation across the finish line to President Biden’s desk for a signature. It’s far past time to put matters of war and peace back in the hands of Congress, as constitutionally intended. We are finally on the cusp of achieving that goal.”

The 2002 AUMF authorizing force against Iraq contains no sunset provision, which leaves it on the books indefinitely and creates a danger that Presidents will use it to justify military action that Congress never intended to authorize. Rep. Lee’s legislation would repeal the 2002 AUMF in its entirety.

For the Congresswoman’s floor remarks, click here.