The House of Representatives has voted to repeal sweeping war powers granted to the president in 2002 ahead of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. The bill to repeal the AUMF — or Authorization for Use of Military Force — was sponsored by California Democratic Congressmember Barbara Lee. On September 14, 2001, days after the al-Qaeda attacks on the U.S., Lee spoke on the House floor opposing military action against Afghanistan. She was the lone voice of dissent on that day and went on to oppose the Iraq invasion in 2003. Congressmember Lee spoke again from the House floor Thursday, just ahead of the 268-161 vote in favor of repealing the AUMF.
Rep. Barbara Lee: “Now 18 years ago, in front of the infamous 'mission accomplished' banner backdrop, former President Bush told the nation that the major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In 2011, President Obama brought our combat troops home. And yet this authority remains on the books, vulnerable to misuse, because Congress has not acted to remove it. The Bush administration, yes, misled the American people by saying there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Iraq posed an imminent threat and by drawing a false connection between the tragic events of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. Those lies and misinformation had deadly consequences. The mistakes continue to haunt us today.”
The bill now heads to the Senate, where Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to oppose a repeal of the AUMF.