House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing next week on repealing the law that made the 2003 Iraq invasion possible

Republican Rep. Michael McCaul (left) and Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks (right), the chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing next Thursday on AUMFs.
That tees up a potential repeal of the more than 20-year-old law, which authorized the Iraq war.
The Senate easily passed a bill to do just that earlier this year, but it’s stalled in the House.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing next week on repealing the law that authorized the disastrous US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Committee spokeswoman Leslie Shedd confirmed that the hearing would take place, and that more details will be announced on Thursday morning.

The hearing, scheduled for 10 am next Thursday, is expected to address both the repeal of the 2002 authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq and the replacement of the 2001 AUMF, according to one person familiar with the planning.

It’s the first time that the House is set to officially address the issue since Republicans gained control of the chamber earlier this year. In March, the Senate passed a bill to repeal both the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs by a sweeping 66-30 margin, though dozens of Republicans ultimately opposed it.

The effort to repeal the Iraq war powers has been stalled for months in the House, largely owing to the opposition of defense-minded Republicans on key committees.

While members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus — along with most Democrats — are supportive of the effort, defense hawks have viewed the effort skeptically, believing that repealing the law could leave the United States with fewer tools to combat Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and the looming threat of terrorism more broadly.

House Republicans, seeking to mollify defense hawks, have established a working group led by Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado to address both the Iraq war authorization and the 2001 AUMF, which authorized the president to wage war against the “nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, the committee’s ranking member, introduced a bill earlier this year that would replace the 2001 AUMF with a new authorization that’s more narrowly tailored to terrorist hotspots, and would need to be re-authorized every 4 years.

The House easily voted to repeal both the 1991 and 2002 AUMF in June 2021, when the chamber was controlled by Democrats. But dozens of House Republicans also voted for the bill. The Senate never took up the legislation.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which resulted in the destabilization of the region and contributed to the rise of ISIS. The war, launched under false allegations that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, has since been condemned by members of both parties as a mistake.


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