February 09, 2023


Today, U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), and Tom Cole (R-OK-04) and U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars, and reassert Congress’ Constitutional role in deciding whether and when to send our servicemembers into harm’s way. The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs—which passed 32 and 20 years ago, respectively—authorized the use of force for the Gulf and Iraq wars, but Congress has failed to repeal these AUMFs to prevent potential misuse by future presidents. This bill would also enhance the relationship the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq.

“Three presidents have come and gone since Congress last voted to authorize a US invasion of Iraq over twenty years ago; a fourth is now in office. Yet the legacy of these horrific forever wars lives on in the form of the now-obsolete 2002 and 1991 AUMFs. I am proud to join Senators Kaine and Young leading this effort to finally repeal these authorizations. Reps Roy, Spanberger, Cole and I will be leading the charge in the House to restore our constitutionally protected Congressional war powers in a bipartisan fashion. It's far past time to put decisions of military action back in the hands of the people, as the constitution intended,” said Lee.

“Congress is responsible for both declaring wars and ending them because decisions as important as whether or not to send our troops into harm’s way warrant careful deliberation and consensus,” said Kaine. “The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse. Congress owes it to our servicemembers, veterans, and families to pass our bill repealing these outdated AUMFs and formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars.”

“In 1991, Congress authorized America’s involvement in the first Gulf War. Eleven years later, Congress again acted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. Today, Iraq is a strategic partner of the United States in advancing the security and stability of the Middle East. Sadly, according to these laws that are still on the books, Iraq is still technically an enemy of the United States. This inconsistency and inaccuracy should be corrected. Congress must do its job and take seriously the decision to not just commit America to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war. Our bipartisan legislation will repeal the outdated and unnecessary 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force and ensure Congress fulfills its constitutional responsibility,” said Young

“The framers gave Congress the grave duty to deliberate the questions of war and peace, but for far too long this body has abdicated this duty. We must do our job. Repealing the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs — which will not impact ongoing operations in the Middle East — is necessary to ensure these decades old and outdated authorities are not abused in the future. This would be a first step towards a clearer, more focused military strategy, a more responsible government, and a stronger, more united country,” said Roy.

“Voting on decisions of war and peace is a fundamental and constitutional responsibility for Members of Congress. We must be accountable to the American people and cannot abdicate this responsibility to open-ended AUMFs that give too much power to a President and don’t require Congress to take consequential votes,” said Spanberger.“I’m proud to be a part of this serious, bipartisan effort — and I’d like to thank my fellow Virginian Senator Kaine for leading the charge to do what is right for the people we serve and the men and women who keep us safe.”

In 2001, Congresswoman Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) following the attacks on September 11th, 2001. In the 22 years since, she has been a leading advocate in the House for the repeal of both the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.

Rep. Lee’s amendment to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF was first included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in 2019. Last Congress, the House passed the amendment as part of the NDAA. Measures to repeal the authorization have passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with dozens of Republican votes.

She has also worked to repeal the overly broad 2001 AUMF, introducing a bill that would repeal the 2001 AUMF in full each Congress since 2010.

In addition to Lee, Roy, Spanberger, and Cole, the House bill is cosponsored by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA-02), Andy Ogles (R-TN-05), Gregory Meeks (D-NY-05), and Harriet Hageman (R-WY-At-Large). In addition to Kaine and Young, the Senate bill is cosponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Angus King (I-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

Full text of the bill is available here.