House

Pelosi vows vote to end 2002 Iraq War authorization

Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the House will soon vote to repeal a 2002 resolution that empowered the Pentagon to conduct military operations in Iraq.

Earlier in the week, Pelosi said the House “may” vote on Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) resolution to repeal the earlier action, known as an authorization for use of military force (AUMF), that governed the Iraq War. On Thursday, Pelosi was more concrete, saying the vote is imminent.

“We will have that resolution coming up soon under the leadership of congresswoman Barbara Lee,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.

The comments came just hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a separate resolution designed to limit President Trump’s unilateral military confrontations with Iran. That measure, sponsored by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), is a response to Trump’s decision last week to launch a drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian security commander.

Slotkin’s resolution is nonbinding, meaning it would not be sent to the White House for the president’s signature and does not carry the force of law. Pelosi defended that strategy on Thursday, saying she didn’t want to give Trump the opportunity to veto the measure.

“We’re taking this path because it does not require … a signature of the president,” she said. “This is a statement of the Congress of the United States, and I will not have that statement be diminished by whether the president will veto it or not.”

A number of progressives in the Democratic caucus had initially sought to expand Slotkin’s war powers resolution to include both Lee’s AUMF repeal as well as another provision, offered by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), to deny the Pentagon funding for offensive military force targeting Iran without prior congressional approval. But some moderate Democrats balked at those additions, leading Pelosi and Democratic leaders to pursue the slimmer resolution proposed by Slotkin.

Still, there’s plenty of appetite within the liberal-leaning caucus for the Lee and Khanna proposals, both of which the House passed late last year as part of a sweeping defense authorization bill but which were stripped out in negotiations with the Senate.

The AUMF debate is hardly new: Lawmakers in both parties have pressed for years to repeal or update both the 2001 resolution, broadly governing the war against terrorism, and the 2002 Iraq resolution, both of which passed following the 9/11 attacks. The debate has been snarled by sharp disagreements between liberals worried that a new AUMF would greenlight sweeping new conflicts in the Middle East, and conservatives wary of tying the Pentagon’s hands at the expense of national security.

Pelosi on Thursday was quick to acknowledge those tensions, noting that repealing the AUMF presents a larger challenge: how to replace it?

She outlined the three areas that any new AUMF would have to address: the timeline for operations; the regions of the world to be covered; and the range of operations to be sanctioned, from boots on the grounds to air strikes to mere surveillance.

“Timing, geography and scope. … It’s harder than you would think,” Pelosi said. “But we have to do it.”

She did not say when.

Tags AUMF Barbara Lee Donald Trump Elissa Slotkin Iran Iraq Iraq War Nancy Pelosi Ro Khanna

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