Senate nears pivotal 60-vote threshold for scrapping Iraq war authorizations

But replacing the measure that's allowed U.S. airstrikes in the region is 'likely to happen when cows fly over the moon,' one skeptic said.

8/4/2021 2:01:00 PM

Congress is on track to mark a 50-year milestone this year as the Senate closes in on the votes it needs to repeal outdated authorizations for the use of military force in Iraq

But replacing the measure that's allowed U.S. airstrikes in the region is 'likely to happen when cows fly over the moon,' one skeptic said.

An Iraqi woman passes U.S. troops and Iraqi police officers as they stand guard in the Bab al-Jadeed area of Mosul on April 23, 2009. | Maya Alleruzzo/AP PhotoBy08/04/2021 04:30 AM EDTLink CopiedCongress is on track to mark a 50-year milestone this year as the Senate closes in on the votes it needs to repeal outdated authorizations for the use of military force in Iraq.

Watch BTS Kick Off Global Citizen's 24-Hour Festival With 'Permission to Dance' 'Funeral home' ad spreads message for the unvaccinated Sheriff's office: At least 3 killed in Amtrak derailment

The historic, years-long push to rein in executive branch war-making authorities isn't over yet. But it got this far thanks to tectonic shifts in public opinion as well as growing support among Republicans, who are poised to push the effort over the finish line when it hits the Senate floor later this year.

On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will approve a bipartisan bill to repeal the 1991 authorization for the Gulf War and the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War; and, according to a POLITICO tally, the bill is likely to secure the requisite 60 votes when it hits the floor later this year — a significant shift for a Senate that has lagged behind a war-weary American public. headtopics.com

“I mean, this is the most solemn thing we should do. And we’ve just put it on autopilot,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said, referring to Congress’ power to declare war. “And I think the longer you go, the more people are uncomfortable with that.”The idea has near-unanimous support among Democrats on Capitol Hill; and while most Republicans still believe that the commander-in-chief must preserve any and all existing war authorities, a growing group of GOP lawmakers is backing the repeal efforts. They’re poised to finally put this one over the top after years of falling victim to the Senate’s filibuster rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation.

“This is in part a function of the multi-year education that many of our constituents have received about needing to ensure that members of Congress are attentive to where our troops are, where they’re deployed, how long they’re deployed, and so forth,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), who is leading the repeal push alongside Kaine.

The House has already approved separate measures to scrap the outdated authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF), and President Joe Biden has said he supports taking them off the books. Biden’s backing, Kaine said, “has been a real key to this.” The last AUMF repeal passed by both chambers and signed into law came in 1971, when then-President Richard Nixon approved a measure scrapping the infamous Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that paved the way for U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

In many ways, the Senate — which has routinely spurned similar AUMF repeal efforts in the past — will be catching up with public opinion, which has long turned against America's seemingly endless involvement in Middle East wars, especially as the U.S. prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. headtopics.com

3 dead in Amtrak train derailment in Montana Jesse Watters: Biden's failures keep piling up Michael Cohen's advice to Mary Trump

“Congress, during the time I’ve been here, has been slowly coming to the realization that we have to own more of the process for starting and stopping wars,” Kaine said. The reality that current operations in the Middle East have relied on a nearly two-decade-old authorization, he added, has “been a sobering realization for folks,” he added.

In the Senate, where all 50 Democrats are expected to support the repeal measures, libertarian-minded Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky are finding themselves a bit less lonely in their own party. Supporters of the effort now have more traditional conservatives on their side, like Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who is a co-sponsor of the Kaine-Young bill.

“Up here it’s been a minority,” Paul said of the Senate. “But I think the public is very supportive.”Over the years, the House has consistently voted, both in committee and on the floor, to repeal war authorizations through the defense policy or appropriations processes. But those efforts were always stripped out of final packages negotiated with the Senate, where defense hawks out-maneuvered those who pushed for scaling back the president’s war powers.

This year, the repeal measures aren’t likely to be cast aside during the legislative sausage-making process. Once the Senate approves the effort, it will take one of two paths to becoming law: Either the House and Senate will form a conference committee to combine both chambers’ efforts into one bill, or the issue will be resolved during negotiations over the annual must-pass defense policy bill. headtopics.com

Kaine said the defense policy bill is the most likely vehicle to get the repeal measures to Biden’s desk.Despite the Senate’s filibuster rules, though, the upper chamber has been able to pass war powers resolutions directing the cessation of U.S. involvement in hostilities — votes that require a simple majority, rather than 60 votes. Both the House and Senate in 2019 passed measures to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war, but they were vetoed by then-President Donald Trump and neither chamber could muster the two-thirds necessary to override the veto.

And last year, the Senatepasseda resolution to prevent Trump from attacking Iran, again with a simple majority threshold. Eight Republicans supported that bill, which came about after Trump cited the 2002 AUMF as legal justification for the airstrike that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani. At the time, Democrats suggested that Trump’s opposition to the measure forced some Republicans to vote against it even if they agreed with the premise that the 2002 AUMF should not apply to Iran.

The Academy Museum Opening Gala: Red Carpet Arrivals Americans take largest lead against Europe in Ryder Cup Camila Cabello Welcomes Shawn Mendes to Global Citizen Stage With a Kiss: Watch

Trump himself often gave conflicting signals on the issue of war powers, simultaneously railing against “endless wars” during campaign rallies but strongly pushing back against efforts to limit U.S. involvement overseas.Seven of those who voted for the Iran resolution are still serving in the Senate — and Grassley, who voted against that resolution, has now moved into the yes camp. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also voted against the Iran measure, but told POLITICO that he supports repealing the 2002 AUMF. And Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), a newly elected member, also said she is likely to vote for it.

“We’ve been adventurous across the world far too long,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who also plans to support the bill. “So I’m going to be with the folks who want to make sure that we don’t let those linger.”Most Republicans agree with the premise of the Kaine-Young bill — that the 2002 and 1991 authorizations are no longer necessary for basic operational tasks, including the protection of American troops. But they argue that eliminating a president’s existing authorities could complicate U.S. efforts to respond to future threats.

“The question is, when our troops are gone, what authority do we then have to prevent ISIS or the Taliban from doing things that are awful and outrageous, that would be very much harmful to our friends and allies?” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said.When asked about Congress crafting a new AUMF to meet those challenges, Romney quipped: “Yes, that’s likely to happen when cows fly over the moon.”

At the same time, Republicans’ bid to keep the Iraq authorizations is hardening around the party’s hawkish posture toward Iran, whose proxies have been attacking U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria in recent months. Those attacks have prompted retaliatory strikes by Biden, though the president claimed his Article II self-defense authority to justify those offensives.

As Biden comes under scrutiny from members of his own party for those strikes, Republicans have rushed to defend him. And GOP lawmakers are justifying their opposition to the AUMF repeal measures byseeking to preserveBiden’s ability to attack Iran and its proxy forces inside Iraq and Syria — though the AUMFs only authorized action against the Iraqi government, not specific militant groups based in Iraq. Today, the Iraqi government is a counterintelligence partner, and U.S. troops are there with its permission.

As Republicans look to tout their hard line against Tehran, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) plans to introduce an amendment to the Kaine-Young bill that would give Biden the authority to retaliate against Iran more directly.That amendment is expected to fail mostly along party lines in the Democrat-led committee. But it’s another example of how Republicans are portraying Biden as weak toward Iran, especially as the administration seeks a revived nuclear agreement with the regime.

“I worry that this debate is being pushed by the Democrats as part of the Biden administration’s pivot toward Iran, and ill-advised intention to re-enter into the disastrous Obama Iran nuclear deal,” Cruz said in a brief interview. Read more: POLITICO »

Met Gala Photos 2021: Red Carpet Arrivals

The Met Gala makes its dazzling return, offering a landscape of lavish red carpet looks we’ve come to expect on one of fashion’s biggest nights. Co-chairs of the evening are Timothée Ch…

This cannot be forgotten, political corruption: “(Beirut) - Evidence implicates senior Lebanese officials in the August 4, 2020, explosion in Beirut that killed 218 people, but systemic problems in Lebanon’s legal and political system are allowing them to avoid accountability.” 50 year? I looked down at my body without genitals, flesh, and bones. There wasn't already reason to let myself live anymore. If you ask the western people who have also been castrated by China, they must be like me and not want to live in this world!

Senior U.S. diplomat Sherman backs repeal of 2002 Iraq war authorizationPresident Joe Biden's administration backs the repeal of the 2002 congressional authorization for the war in Iraq, saying it is not needed to protect U.S. interests in the foreseeable future, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Tuesday.

Senate Loses Congress Contract To Upstart Private Legislator FirmWASHINGTON—The members of the U.S. Senate were seen Tuesday packing up their Capitol offices after the Senate reportedly lost their Congress contract to an upstart private legislator firm. “Well, it’s been a good run being in charge of Congress, but an aging government organization like the Senate just can’t compete… A little too close to the truth to be funny, really. The good news is there will soon be a National Hacky Sack Day.

State Senate members call for Cuomo's impeachment amid release of AG reportEighty-three percent of the New York State Senate and 56 percent of the State Assembly have so far called on Cuomo to resign or be impeached. Let him tell all about the mafia!

Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Awarding Capitol Police With Medals of Honor for January 6Senator Amy Klobuchar said the medals are 'a recognition that will be on display for people to understand and remember what these officers did.'

Systemic cybersecurity failures persist across federal agencies, Senate report findsKey agencies across the federal government continue to fail meet basic cybersecurity standards, according to a new Senate report, which found systematic failures to safeguard data.

Sarah Palin hints she may run for Senate against Lisa Murkowski in 2022Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said that moving to the 'bubble' of Washington, should she win, would be 'a sacrifice' but one she was willing to make if she felt called to do so. What she leaves out is that by being Alaska's US Senator in Washington she'd be sacrificing Alaska, not herself. She should stay in Alaska - that way she could see Russia from her home.