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US House votes to curb Trump’s war powers

US House votes to curb Trump’s war powers
U.S. House of Representatives
WASHINGTON, JAN 31 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 1/31/2020 12:41:40 PM IST

 The U.S. House voted Thursday to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force that allowed the George W. Bush administration to wage war against Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq. 

Most House Democrats joined 11 Republicans and one independent to approve a resolution to approve the repeal amid concerns about escalating tensions with Iran and complaints by members of Congress that the legislative branch has been sidelined by the executive branch in decisions about waging war. 

The final tally was 236-166. Virginia’s representatives split on party lines, except for U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, who did not vote. 

Supporters of the repeal have long portrayed the effort as an attempt to restore Congress’ power. It’s gotten renewed attention after President Donald Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian general, Qassim Suleimani, who was in Iraq at the time of his death in early January. 

“More than 17 years ago, Congress passed a resolution authorizing the equivalent of war with Iraq, a war I opposed then,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Fairfax, said on the House floor Thursday. “It stretches credulity to claim that resolution now extends authorization to the president’s order to assassinate a foreign leader from Iran, yet that is precisely what the White House would have you believe.”

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said “the American people are sick of perpetual war. And if we don’t do everything in our power to make sure this administration cannot plunge us into another war that we don’t want, then we will have let the American people down.”

Several House Republicans made similar arguments, including some staunch allies of President Donald Trump. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump loyalist who endorsed Democrats’ AUMF repeal effort, noted on the House floor that Hussein died more than a decade ago. 

“If we are unable to declare victory and bring our troops home at this time, after Saddam is dead, after his regime has evaporated, after ISIS has collapsed, then no war is ever truly winnable, and every authorization is an authorization for a forever war,” Gaetz said on the House floor. 

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers, including Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico, penned an op-ed in The Washington Post supporting the repeal of the 2002 AUMF.

 “This authorization has fully outlived its purpose, given the death of Hussein, regime change and the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011, regardless of how one views the merits of that withdrawal,” they wrote.

 

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