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Garamendi AUMF Repeal Passes House of Representatives

January 30, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) applauded House passage of his legislation, H.R. 550, which was amended to include Representative Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) legislation to repeal the 2002 Iraq War Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and Representative Ro Khanna’s (D-CA) legislation to prohibit the use of military force against Iran without an AUMF. The legislation passed by a vote of 236-166.

“Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to debate and declare war, and we have abdicated that responsibility for far too long,” Garamendi said. “I’ve worked to address this issue in a bipartisan matter since I arrived in Congress in 2009. I carried this legislation to reassert Congress’ Article I responsibilities and to prevent any further costly wars without proper Congressional debate and oversight. We owe it to our service members, military families, and the American people to have this debate and fulfill our responsibilities as prescribed in the Constitution,” Garamendi concluded.

2002 AUMF:

Congress passed the 2002 AUMF to authorize the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. It permitted the President to use the armed forces as “necessary and appropriate” to “defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq” and to “enforce all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.” The 2002 AUMF is no longer relevant as the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown in 2003 and a formal end to the U.S. mission in Iraq was declared at the end of 2011.

The 2002 AUMF creates the potential for abuse as administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have relied on it to dubiously carry out attacks against “threats to, or stemming from, Iraq” without Congressional approval. This is contrary to what Congress intended when it passed this AUMF, and Garamendi’s legislation would remove the ability for any administration to further expand the scope of the 2002 AUMF beyond the Iraq War.  

Iran:

The legislation would also prohibit the use of federal funds for any unprovoked military offensive against Iran without Congressional approval. There currently is no existing Congressional authorization for the use of military force against Iran, but the Trump Administration has shown it will expand the scope of existing authorities to justify a conflict with Iran. The Trump Administration’s recent escalatory actions against Iran underscore the need for Congress to exercise its Constitutional responsibility to debate and declare war. This legislation would not infringe on the President’s ability to respond to imminent threats to our national security or to take action to protect American lives, as authorized under the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Congressman Garamendi’s full speech on the House floor in support of this legislation can be viewed here.