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US Senate votes to repeal Iraq act, reclaim war powers

The United States Senate has voted to repeal the resolution that gave a green light for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and to return a basic war power to Congress.

March 30, 2023
30 March 2023

A majority of the US Senate has backed legislation to repeal two decades-old authorisations for past wars in Iraq, as Congress pushes to reassert its role over deciding whether to send troops into combat.

The Senate voted 66-30 in favour of legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 “Authorizations for the Use of Military Force,” or AUMFs, well above the 51 vote majority needed to pass the measure that would formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars.

To become law, the repeal of the two AUMFs, must still pass the Republican-led House of Representatives, where its prospects are less certain. 

All of the votes against repeal in the Senate were from Republicans and the party’s leader in the chamber Mitch McConnell issued a statement opposing it.

Biden has said he will sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Twenty years after the March 2003 US invasion, the vote was a historic step away from a war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of US troops, complicated policy in the Middle East and bitterly divided US politics.

It was also lawmakers’ latest effort to reclaim Congress’ authority over whether troops should be sent into combat, which backers of the repeal said had been improperly ceded to the White House as the Senate and House of Representatives passed and then failed to repeal open-ended war authorisations.

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