Conservative group Heritage Action calls on House to consider AUMF repeals

(AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad, April 9, 2003. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

The conservative Heritage Action group is calling on the House to repeal the 1991 and 2002 war authorizations against Iraq after a bill that would do so advanced in the Senate on Thursday.

“Over the last several decades, Congress has allowed the executive branch to have nearly unchecked powers and unlimited authorities to act when it comes to the use of military force abroad,” the group’s Executive Director Jessica Anderson said in a statement. “This constitutional reset would put Congress back in the drivers’ seat and force lawmakers to regain the muscle memory necessary to carry out its war powers and authorize military force in the future.”

Lawmakers for years have clamored for the repeal of the war authorizations, which give power to the executive branch to undertake military operations by citing the force authorizations without further congressional approval. Former President Trump justified a strike in 2020 against Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in part through the 2002 force authorization.

While previous attempts to repeal the measures have stalled, this push has picked up significant bipartisan momentum, including an endorsement from President Biden. The White House said the bill would be “in keeping with President Biden’s longstanding commitment to replacing outdated authorizations for the use of military force.”

The White House also pointed out that that the U.S. is not conducting ongoing military activities that are “primarily” reliant on the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the Iraq War. There are no ongoing military activities reliant on the 1991 AUMF, the White House said.

Congress has long faced criticisms similar to Heritage Action’s, with critics accusing lawmakers of abdicating its authority on issues of military force and ceding much of the power to the executive branch. The criticism has come as public trepidation over the involvement of the U.S. in prolonged foreign conflicts has also grown.

Heritage Action argued that the purpose of the military authorizations was accomplished long ago, and the group encouraged the Senate to pass the legislation and House lawmakers to act if it gets to the chamber.

“The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs are outdated authorizations that deal with U.S. forces against Iraq and their purpose was fulfilled years ago,” the statement said. 

Tags AUMF Biden Heritage Action Iraq

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