The US Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance legislation to rescind decades-old authorizations to wage wars in Iraq, as Congress seeks to reaffirm its role in making the decision to send troops into combat.
- The vote ended 65-28, more than the 60 votes needed in the 100-member Senate, paving the way for a vote on approval later this week. All the “no” votes were from members of the Republican Party.
- Members of Congress have said for years that Congress has ceded too much power to presidents of both the Republican and Democratic parties over sending troops to fight by authorizing and then failing to rescind wide open wars. They added that presidents have used these authorizations for years to justify military action in separate parts of the world.
- Under the Constitution, Congress, not the president, has the power to declare war.
Supporters of the current bill describe the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force against Iraq as dead mandates. They say that it is outdated and inappropriate because the wars ended a long time ago and Iraq became a partner of the United States.
This month marked the twentieth anniversary of the launch of the Iraq war in 2003.
“Removing these authorizations will show the region and the world that the United States is not an occupying power, that the Iraq war is over, that we are moving forward and working with Iraq as a strategic partner,” Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said before the vote.“.