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June 15, 2021

The Biden administration said Monday it supports ending the Congressional authorization to fight a war in Iraq, which every president has used as a legal basis for fighting in the country since George W. Bush received it in 2002.


The Biden administration said it supports a bill to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, according to a policy statement released Monday.

The administration says fighting in Iraq—there are currently about 2,500 American troops there—does not “rely solely” on the AUMF and that it can be repealed with “minimal impact on current military operations.” 

The House of Representatives will vote this week on a Democratic bill to repeal the authorization, according to Reuters.

“As the Administration works with the Congress to reform AUMFs,” the statement said, “it will be critical to maintain the clear authority to address threats to the United States’ national interests with appropriately decisive and effective military action.”

Repealing the resolution, which Biden voted for as a senator, has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. More Republicans are expected to vote for repeal, according to Defense News, now that it doesn’t mean voting against President Trump: In January 2020, Democrats tried, and failed, to repeal it after the Trump administration said the resolution allowed the U.S. to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport. Years earlier, President Obama said the resolution allowed the U.S. to bomb the Islamic State in Syria. 

The 2002 AUMF is separate from an authorization signed following September 11, 2001, attacks allowing President Bush to pursue Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. It has been used by following administrations to launch attacks outside of wars, notably via drone strikes.