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Kaine & Young Statement Ahead of 20th Anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), released the following statement ahead of the 20th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

“Twenty years ago, the United States invaded Iraq. Following great heroism by American troops, that mission is now over. The government of Iraq is now a strategic partner. Yet, the Authorization for Use of Military Force remains on the books because Congress has abdicated our responsibility to repeal it, leaving it subject to potential presidential misuse. It’s long past time for Congress to reassert its war powers. If our servicemembers have the courage to risk their lives to protect our country, then Congress, by comparison, should be able to make important decisions on matters of war, peace, and diplomacy. In the coming weeks, the Senate will vote on final passage of our bipartisan bill to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs against Iraq, and we urge our colleagues to honor the more than 1.5 million Americans who served during the Iraq War and their families by passing it.”

In February, Kaine and Young introduced legislation, along with Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), and Tom Cole (R-OK-04), to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars. Their bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) on March 8, 2023. The legislation passed a key procedural hurdle by a vote of 68-27 yesterday. Prior to that vote, Kaine and Young spoke about the legislation on the Senate floor. You can watch their speeches here.

Kaine and Young have been leading voices in Congress on the need to repeal outdated AUMFs to prevent potential misuse and have raised concerns over the use of military force without congressional authorization. Their bill has garnered strong bipartisan support since they first introduced it in 2019. The House voted to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs in June 2021. In 2018, Kaine introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) to update the 2001 AUMF and repeal the 2002 AUMF.