Bill to nix Iraq war authorizations clears procedural hurdle in US Senate


A bill ending a pair of decades-old authorizations for war against Iraq cleared a procedural hudle in the US Senate Thursday with a final vote expected next week.

The bipartisan bill, which cleared what is known as a cloture vote ending debate 68-27, would repeal two Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs). One relates to the 1991 Gulf War, and the second was used to launch the 2002 US invasion that led to ex-leader Saddam Hussein's ouster.

Introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young, the barely two-page legislation cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee March 8.

The bill seeks to reassert Congress' constitutionally-mandated authority to declare and end wars, and bolster the US-Iraq relationship by closing open-ended authorizations used to carry out US military activities in the Middle Eastern nation.

"Although the 1991 Gulf and 2002 Iraq wars are over and Iraq is no longer an enemy, the Authorizations for Use of Military Force remain on the books," Kaine, the Democratic sponsor, said in a statement issued when his bill cleared committee.

"Congress has a constitutional and moral responsibility to repeal them so that future presidents can't use these authorizations as a blank check to send servicemembers into harm's way," he added.

About 2,500 US troops remain in Iraq working alongside local forces to conduct operations against the Daesh/ISIS terror group.

Kaine and Young's legislation would not touch a 2001 AUMF authorizing the US to continue operations against terrorist groups worldwide, which was passed in the wake of the devastating Sept. 11 attacks on the country.

Young, the Republican co-sponsor from Indiana, said repealing the Iraq war authorizations "will demonstrate America's commitment to Iraqi sovereignty."

"Just as important, it is vital to restoring the proper role of Congress in authorizing the use of military force and affirmatively stating when conflicts are over," he added.

A final vote on the Senate floor is expected to take place at some point next week, which will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the second Iraq war. Should the chamber lend its support, the legislation would move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Source: Anadolu Agency