Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the historic repeal of the 2002 and 1991 Iraq AUMFs. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
First, let me thank my colleagues: our Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Menendez; Senator Kaine, who has worked on this bill not for days and not for months, but for years and never gave up hope; Senator Young, Senator Risch, and so many others—thank you Senator Young—who worked so hard to make this day happen.
Twenty years after the start of the Iraq War, the Senate finally, finally, finally declares today the time has come to repeal the legal authorities that began that war in the first place. This is bipartisan, and that’s one of the beauties of this. Democrats and Republicans join to say it has been long enough, the Iraq War has long been over, these authorizations for use of force against Iraq are no longer necessary for our security.
Make no mistake: this vote repealing the Iraq War powers is one for the history books.
The American people, as we know, are tired of endless wars in the Middle East. Every year we keep these AUMFs on the books is another chance for future Administrations to abuse them. We owe it to the over 4,000 who died in Iraq, to their families, to our service members who served there, to our veterans, and to all of the communities impacted by the war, we owe it to all of them to act.
And, there is a very good chance that both chambers can pass these AUMF repeals before the end of this year, so this bill can be signed into law. This is not just going to be a one-house action. We have good support in the House of Representatives, the President is for it, and the odds are high that this much-needed legislation will become law.
Again, I hope this process can be a blueprint for how the Senate works over the next few years. We sat down with our Republican colleagues, and of course it’s the right of minority to offer amendments, and came to an agreement. The amendments were not dilatory. The amendments were not gotcha. They were sincere attempts to change the bill. But by allowing amendments, we allowed this bill to go forward, and we would like that to be a metaphor for the future. We will look diligently, assiduously for opportunities to continue the Senate working successfully on bipartisan legislation in the future.