WASHINGTON (March 23, 2021)—The R Street Institute applauds recent bipartisan efforts in the House to repeal outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) and restore Congress’s constitutional war powers.

The Constitution grants Congress alone the authority to declare war. However, many authorizations remain in force long after conflicts have ended and they have fulfilled their purposes. Allowing outdated authorizations to stay on the books allows for future abuse from the executive branch, which erodes the separation of powers.

H.R. 256, sponsored by long-time AUMF reform champion Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), would repeal the 2002 Iraq War authorization. The Outdated AUMF Repeal Act—introduced last week and sponsored by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Jared Golden (D-Maine)—would repeal the 2002 AUMF along with the 1991 Gulf War authorization and an Eisenhower-era anticommunist authorization from 1957.

Anthony Marcum, R Street resident fellow said, “The existing congressional authorizations for the president to use military force are outdated, and their lingering stay on the books allows for future abuse. This bipartisan legislation—coupled with two bipartisan hearings scheduled this week—demonstrates a renewed, bipartisan effort for Congress to reassert its vital constitutional role.”

The R Street Institute further applauds both the House Rules Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for holding hearings this week focused on examining Congress’s war powers. Today, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing titled “Reclaiming Congressional War Powers.”. Also today, the House Rules Committee will hold a hearing titled “Article I: Reforming the War Powers Resolution for the 21st Century.”

These hearings are important steps forward, and all Americans should support these vital efforts.

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