Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Supporting The Repeal Of The 2002 Authorization For The Use Of Military Force In Iraq And Announcing The Senate Will Vote On Repeal Of The Iraq War AUMF This Year

June 16, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding his support for the repeal of the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Two days ago, the Biden Administration became the first administration since the beginning of the Iraq War to support repealing the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, passed in 2002 and now in effect for 19 years.

The Iraq war has been over for nearly a decade. An authorization passed in 2002 is no longer necessary in 2021. It has been nearly ten years since this particular authorization has been cited as a primary justification for a military operation. It no longer serves a vital purpose in our fight against violent extremists in the Middle East.

So, I strongly and fully support repealing the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. This is the first time I am formally announcing my support for repeal.

I want to be clear: in no way will America abandon our relationship with Iraq and its people as they rebuild their country after years of war and our shared fight against ISIS. But there are very good reasons to repeal this specific legal authority.

For example, it will eliminate the danger of a future administration reaching back into the legal dustbin to use it as a justification for military adventurism. 

At the beginning of last year, we saw that danger become frightfully real when President Trump ordered an airstrike against an Iranian target in Iraq without transparency, without proper notification to Congress, and without a clear strategy. President Trump cited the 2002 AUMF as partial justification, ex post facto—a claim that legal scholars and foreign policy experts resoundingly rejected. There is no good reason to allow this legal authority to persist in case another reckless Commander-in-Chief tries the same trick in the future.

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on whether to formally repeal the authorization. Next week Chairman Menendez and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will markup a resolution led by Senators Young and Kaine which will repeal the Iraq War AUMF. It is my intention, as Majority Leader, to bring this matter to a floor vote this year, and I will discuss the precise timing with Chairman Menendez. 

###