WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Committee approved in a 14-8 vote S.J.Res.10, a joint resolution to repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs). The bipartisan legislation seeks to 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 Joint Resolution moves next to the Floor for consideration by the full Senate.
“Today, we take a critical step to repeal two authorizations for use of military force that were for another time and place, against a country with a leader that no longer exists, and for which there is no authority to deal with any present challenges, and which actually serve as fuel to militias to say we are an occupying power. This was nothing short of a historic vote to rebalance the way the executive branch can justify large-scale uses of military force without any congressional involvement.”
“I am particularly proud to see our Committee break through the partisan gridlock that far too often pervades Washington to have an honest and open debate on this issue that’s so critical to our country’s national security. As a result, we have passed this critical piece of legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support. Passage of this legislation embodies the best of Congress and our role as a co-equal branch of government, and today we have truly come together in the best interest of the people we represent. I especially want to thank our lead Democratic and Republican cosponsors, Senators Kaine and Young for their efforts and partnership on this issue, and I look forward to continue our work together to send this legislation to President Biden’s desk for his signature into law.”
The 1991 AUMF gave the President of the United States the authority to use force against Iraq to enforce a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) passed in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Later, with the 2002 AUMF, Congress authorized the President to use U.S. armed forces against the Saddam Hussein regime as “necessary and appropriate” to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq” and to “enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”