The R Street Institute urges all members to vote “yes” on H.R. 256, To Repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The 2002 AUMF has fulfilled its purpose. Saddam Hussein’s regime was ousted in 2003, and Iraq is now a key partner in the Middle East. The authorization is also unnecessary for any modern operations. As the administration recently noted, “the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF,” and “repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations.”

While repealing the 2002 AUMF would not harm overseas operations, its lingering existence leaves it vulnerable to abuse by the executive branch. The Constitution grants Congress alone the power to declare war, but lingering war authorizations allow the President to bypass Congress, thus eroding Congress’ war powers.

If Americans want to avoid another multi-decade war, they should look to Congress to reassert itself as a collaborator—not a bystander—in wartime decision-making. H.R. 256 is an important step toward repealing outdated war authorizations and restoring Congress’ constitutional role as the First Branch of government.

To speak to our experts on this issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to Caroline Kitchens at [email protected].

For more on AUMF reform, see:

Responding to common AUMF repeal objections: Dated AUMFs are Overdue for Repeal

Op-ed: When it Comes to War Powers, Congress Needs a Seat at the Table

Featured Publications