The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) applauds today’s vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the outdated and overstretched 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) used for the Iraq War. By a vote of 268-161, the House adopted Rep. Barbara Lee’s H.R. 256, building momentum toward ending the era of ever-expanding war.
The bill repeals the 2002 Iraq AUMF, originally passed to authorize war against Saddam Hussein’s regime. Yet it remains on the books and is susceptible to abuse years after the Iraq War has concluded.
“With this vote, Congress takes a big step toward preventing unauthorized wars and preventing unchecked presidential authority,” said FCNL General Secretary Diane Randall. “For years, FCNL’s nationwide grassroots network has worked to achieve exactly the result we are seeing today: a Congress willing to use its own power to pursue peace, not war.”
FCNL’s grassroots advocacy teams build relationships with their members of Congress on the dangers of open-ended war authorizations that perpetuate conflict and a militarized foreign policy. The House has previously voted twice to repeal the 2002 Iraq War AUMF—once in 2019 as an amendment to the FY 20 National Defense Authorization Act and again in response to the Trump administration’s January 2020 assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
“Today’s vote shows the power of the people who demand an end to the endless wars,” said Diana Ohlbaum, FCNL’s senior strategist and legislative director for foreign policy. “Democratic and Republican legislators alike recognize that their constituents want them to take responsibility for deciding if and when our country goes to war.”
Adding more weight to the repeal cause, the Biden Administration this week released a statement backing the repeal, which now heads to the Senate for consideration. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to markup the bill on June 22. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently pledged to hold a full Senate floor vote on the 2002 Iraq AUMF repeal.
There are other authorizations in addition to the 2002 Iraq AUMF. The 2001 AUMF, issued soon after September 11th, is still active. Four presidents have used it to justify 41 military operations in 19 countries. These post-9/11 wars have resulted in the deaths of over 800,000 people, including 335,000 civilians, at a cost of $6.4 trillion.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.
Timothy J. McHugh
Friends Committee on National Legislation