FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 4, 2021
Contact: Press@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), in a continuation of his longtime efforts to return war making powers to Congress, joined several of his fellow Senators in reintroducing bipartisan legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq. The bill would formally end the authorizations for the Gulf and Iraq wars – 30 and 19 years, respectively, after these AUMFs were first passed, reasserting Congress’ vital role in not only declaring wars, but in ending them.
The repeal of these authorizations also recognizes the strong partnership the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq. The bill was reintroduced by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Dick Durbin (D-IL). Since his first day in office, Senator Paul has been fighting to reassert congressional authority over war powers. As far back as 2011, he introduced amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) focused on putting an end to the current permissions granted after 9/11 which have been abused by presidents of both parties for years.
“For years I’ve led the fight to return war making powers back to Congress where they belong, and I’m proud to continue those efforts by joining a bipartisan group of Senators in reintroducing this legislation,” said Dr. Paul. “It’s long past time that we respect the balance of power and reassert Congress’ voice by forcing legislators to specifically approve or disapprove of the direction of our foreign policy.”
“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the Executive Branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. “Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary. The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs that underpinned the war against Iraq need to be taken off the books to prevent their future misuse. They serve no operational purpose, keep us on permanent war footing, and undermine the sovereignty of Iraq, a close partner. I call on Congress to promptly take up this measure and for the Biden Administration to support it to finally show the American people that the Article I and II branches can work together on these issues.”
“It has been thirty years since the first Gulf War began and nineteen years since the United States went back into Iraq. In the years since, Congress has been operating on autopilot when it comes to our essential duties to authorize the use of military force. The fact that authorities for both of these wars are still law today is illustrative of the bipartisan failure of Congress to perform its constitutionally-mandated oversight role,” Young said. “Today, Senator Tim Kaine and I have re-introduced our bipartisan legislation to continue our fight to repeal these outdated war authorities. Congress must not shy away from this debate and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to advance this important legislation.”
“One of Congress’s most solemn constitutional responsibilities is deciding when and how we choose to send America’s sons and daughters into danger overseas,” Duckworth said. “As a nation, we are long over-due to have a thorough and honest reckoning about responsibly exercising Congressional war powers, which includes repealing outdated authorities like the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. For decades, administrations of both parties have kept these authorizations on the books to justify military action in the region without returning to Congress to make their best legal case for the need for such action. I’m proud to join this bipartisan resolution that would repeal these outdated war authorities and I hope we can work in a bipartisan way to address war powers.”
“Congress has a responsibility to not only declare war but also to bring conflicts to a close,” Lee said. “As demonstrated by presidents from both political parties, when authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) remain on the books long past a conflict’s conclusion they become ripe for abuse, expanding far beyond congressional intent. Closing out U.S. authorizations for war in Iraq is long overdue, and Congress owes it to the men and women who sacrificed blood and treasure to declare victory and come home.”
“The airstrikes against Iranian-backed forces in Syria last week demonstrate the need to review and revise the way in which our leaders collectively choose whether or not to wage war. An initial yet important part of that process is removing unnecessary war-making resolutions that are still on the books,” Coons said. “I’m proud to join Senator Kaine in this bipartisan effort to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs, and I look forward to working with the Biden Administration and my colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee to ensure Congress plays its rightful role in future decisions about the use of force.”
This bill is an effort to prevent the future misuse of the expired Gulf and Iraq War authorizations and strengthen Congressional oversight over war powers.
You can read the bill text HERE.