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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Beginning Consideration Of The National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding beginning consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act and on adding an amendment to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here: 

Last night, the Senate began the process to debate, amend, and ultimately pass our annual defense bill. 

With Republican cooperation, we can to adopt the motion to proceed and begin voting on amendments early today. 

Let me say it again: with Republican cooperation, we can adopt the motion to proceed and begin voting on amendments today.

We should work together and complete this important bill before the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Last night’s vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan, so there is no reason we can’t come to an agreement very soon to begin debating amendments.

And there is already one important amendment that I want to mention: repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF.

This bipartisan measure was reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year, and I said months ago that the Senate should hold a vote on it. The NDAA is the logical place to do so.

The Iraq war has been over for a decade. An Authorization passed in 2002 is no longer necessary for keeping Americans safe in 2021. It has been nearly ten years since this particular authorization has been cited as a primary justification for a military operation. And there is a real danger to letting these legal authorities persist indefinitely.

Repealing this AUMF will in no way hinder our national defense nor will it impact our relationship with the people of Iraq.

I want to thank Chairman Menendez, Senator Kaine, Senator Young and every Republican and Democratic co-sponsor of the bill for working to bring this issue to the fore.

And in the coming days I hope we can come to an agreement on other common sense amendments to strengthen the defense bill so we can get it passed through the Senate as soon as possible.