Mitt Romney’s Iraq War Vote Takes Center Stage

Last Wednesday, in a rare show of bipartisan cooperation, the US Senate voted 66 to 30 to repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) in Iraq, CBS News reported.

Proponents of the resolution argued that the repeal is necessary to prevent future presidents from abusing their power without impeding the current counterterrorism efforts in the region.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer argued that the AUMFs “outlived their use” and said repealing them will not harm troops serving abroad or “hinder our ability to keep Americans safe.” Schumer warned that keeping the AUMFs “on the books” increases the chances that a future administration may abuse them. He added that the power to declare war belongs “in the hands of Congress.”

Republican Senator Todd Young, who introduced the resolution with Democrat Senator Tim Kaine, said in a statement that there is a “broad and diverse coalition” of House lawmakers that support the bill and he is hopeful that the resolution “will receive prompt consideration” in the House. 

In 2021, the Democrat-controlled House voted to repeal the 2002 AUMF with the support of 49 Republicans. However, the bill never received a vote in the Senate.

Thirty Republican Senators, including Utah Senator Mitt Romney and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, opposed the repeal over concerns about Iran’s involvement in Iraq, the Hill reported.

At a Republican retreat in Florida in March, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that a bill to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs will have to go through committee before making it to the House floor for a vote. However, he believed there was a “good chance” of that happening.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday that the president supports repealing the AUMFs and would consider replacing them with a “narrow and specific framework” to ensure that the US can continue protecting against “terrorist threats.” Jean-Pierre said the White House urges the Republican-controlled House to “move quickly” in passing the resolution.