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US Senate votes to push ahead with the legislation to repeal two-decade-old authorisations for past wars in Iraq

On Monday, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of repealing two-decade-old authorizations for past wars in Iraq. The aim of the legislation is to give Congress the power to decide whether to send troops into combat and how the US announces war.

The Senate vote of 65 to 28 to limit debate on the measure was more than the required 60 votes in the 100-member Senate, which paved the way for a vote on passage later in the week. All 28 ‘no’ votes came from Republicans. Congress has long argued that too much authority has been ceded to presidents of both parties to decide whether to send troops into combat. Congress has failed to repeal broad, open-ended war authorizations that presidents have used for years to justify military action around the globe.

The US Constitution grants Congress the right to declare war, but presidents have had the power to declare war since the Iraq war. Supporters of the current bill argue that the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs) against Iraq are outdated and inappropriate, as the wars are long over and Iraq is now a US partner. This month marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the 2003 Iraq war.

Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated before the vote that ‘repealing these authorizations will demonstrate to the region, and to the world, that the United States is not an occupying force, that the war in Iraq has come to an end, that we are moving forward, working with Iraq as a strategic partner,’ and urged support for the legislation.

Congress has been pushing to regain the right to make decisions about whether to send troops into combat and how the US announces war, arguing that too much authority has been granted to presidents over the years. The passage of the bill would be a significant step towards limiting presidential power in matters of war.


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