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U.S. lawmakers plan legislation to overhaul authorization of 'forever wars'

PoliticsMar 12, 2021 05:50PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before House Foreign Affairs Committee 2/2

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. lawmakers said on Friday they will begin working within weeks on legislation to overhaul authorizations for the use of military force that presidents from both parties have used to justify decades of attacks on overseas targets.

Representative Gregory Meeks said the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, which he chairs, would begin debating the repeal of an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that allowed the 2002 war in Iraq.

"I intend to mark up legislation in the Foreign Affairs Committee in the coming weeks to repeal it," Meeks told a video news conference with a group of fellow Democrats.

Senators have also been pushing to shift back the authority to declare war to Congress from the White House. In the wake of airstrikes on Syria ordered by President Joe Biden, a bipartisan group on March 3 introduced legislation to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF as well as one passed in 1991.

The Democratic-led House voted to repeal the 2002 AUMF last year, but the measure was never taken up by the Senate, which was led then by Republicans.

The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress, not the president. That authority shifted after Congress passed AUMFs that did not expire - the Iraq measures as well as one that justified the fight against al Qaeda in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Representative Barbara Lee told the news conference that the AUMFs have been used more than 40 times to justify attacks in 19 countries.

"It's time we end these forever wars," Lee said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said any new authorization should have an end date, apply to specific countries and require consultation with and reporting to Congress.

The White House said last week that Biden believes the AUMFs should be re-examined.


U.S. lawmakers plan legislation to overhaul authorization of 'forever wars'

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Comments (1)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Mar 12, 2021 9:25PM ET
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Bush took all the correct, legal steps, and went through congress. Trump did not start ANY wars. What about the guy in-between them?
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