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Senate committee votes to end military authorization for Iraq, Gulf wars

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. (pictured in 2022), co-sponsored a bipartisan bill with Republican Todd Young, R-Ind., that would repeal the authorization of military force that was implemented to conduct the Iraq and Gulf wars. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
1 of 2 | U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. (pictured in 2022), co-sponsored a bipartisan bill with Republican Todd Young, R-Ind., that would repeal the authorization of military force that was implemented to conduct the Iraq and Gulf wars. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

March 8 (UPI) -- The Senate will soon hold a vote to officially end the authorized use of military force in Iraq and Kuwait, which could close the books on the Iraq and Gulf War.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill to end military authorization with a bipartisan 13-8 vote on Wednesday, The Hill reports. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., comes after multiple attempts to repeal the authorized use of force. According to Kaine, passage of the bill would be significant because future presidents may otherwise be able to abuse their ability to send troops to either country, despite troops being long withdrawn from both conflicts.

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"Although the 1991 Gulf and 2002 Iraq wars are over and Iraq is no longer an enemy, the Authorizations for Use of Military Force remain on the books," said Kaine in a statement.

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"Congress has a constitutional and moral responsibility to repeal them so that future presidents can't use these authorizations as a blank check to send service members into harm's way. I'm glad we're one step closer today to repealing these outdated and unnecessary AUMFs. I welcomed Majority Leader [Sen. Chuck] Schumer's commitment to bring our bill to the Senate floor in coming weeks, and I urge my colleagues to pass our bipartisan bill so we can formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars."

Schumer, D-N.Y., voiced his support for passing the bill once it reaches the Senate floor.

"This Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reached an agreement to move forward on the repeal of the Iraq AUMF," Schumer tweeted. "We need to put the Iraq war behind us once and for all. And doing that means we should repeal the legal authority that initiated the war to begin with."

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The United States launched the Gulf War in August 1990, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The conflict lasted just a few months before troops were withdrawn the following February. More than 200 U.S. troops were killed.

The invasion of Iraq began in 2003 and former President Barack Obama withdrew troops in 2011. More than 7,000 U.S. soldiers died in the Iraq War. Brown University estimates as many as 300,000 Iraqi civilians died in relation to the war as of 2019.

Young said current Iraq-U.S. relations will only be strengthened if the bill passes into law.

"I am encouraged by today's vote, and it is now time to bring this legislation to the Senate floor.," Sen. Young said in a statement.

"Later this month, we will mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Today, Iraq is a partner of the United States and critical to efforts to counter Iran. Repealing these outdated AUMFs will demonstrate America's commitment to Iraqi sovereignty. Just as important, it is vital to restoring the proper role of Congress in authorizing the use of military force and affirmatively stating when conflicts are over."

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