Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced his support on Wednesday for repealing the 2002 war authorization for Iraq, vowing to hold a vote on scrapping the outdated measure later this year.
The announcement from Schumer (D-N.Y.) comes as the House is expected to pass Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) bill on Thursday that would repeal the 2002 law, which served as the legal basis for several military operations in Iraq.
“The Iraq War has been over for nearly a decade. The authorization passed in 2002 is no longer necessary in 2021,” Schumer said Wednesday on the Senate floor.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden came out in support of Lee’s bill, becoming the first president to approve ending the authorization.
In a statement, the White House noted that the U.S. “has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis,” and that getting the law off the books “would likely have minimal impact on current military operations.”
A steady cohort of Democrats and Republicans has pushed for decades to rein in presidential war powers, but administrations of both parties have sternly resisted those efforts. Instead, they’ve expanded the commander-in-chief’s use of military force without congressional approval.
But proponents of reform gained significant ground earlier this year, when Biden came out in support of their efforts to claw back congressional authority over war powers.
Additionally, Biden has vowed to work with lawmakers to replace the 2001 authorization with one that is better aligned with the current threats in the Middle East. The 2001 measure was passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and gave the president broad powers to use military force against terrorists in the region. Lee was the only House member who voted against it.
Next week, Schumer said, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider a bill to repeal both the 2002 and the 1991 authorizations, the latter of which paved the way for U.S. military action in Iraq during the first Gulf War.