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Spanberger Bill Reversing 1991 AUMF Likely to Pass House

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger

The House of Representatives is currently considering a bill from one of Virginia's members about the use of military force.

Back in 1991, Congress passed an authorization for use of military force against Iraq, one that’s still active today.

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger says it's time for Congress to repeal that resolution.

"They are not supposed to be on the books forever, and they are not supposed to just be open-ended authorizations where any president now or in the future could decide to take action because of an old vote that was taken in some cases decades ago," she explains.

This is only one of several authorization of military force resolutions that are still active today, including one from 1957, one from 2001 and another one from 2002. Dan Grazier at the Center for Defense Information says the Constitution isn't supposed to work this way.

"Repealing these authorizations is really an effort to claw back a key constitutional function from the executive back to the legislative branch," Grazier says. "So this isn't about the war on terrorism.”

Spanberger’s bill has widespread support in both parties in the House, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where some senators might be skeptical of doing anything that might limit a presidential administration’s ability to take swift military action whenever it wants and wherever it wants.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.