Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing a bill to establish a sunset for the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq (PL 107-243). There are several active pieces of legislation that would rescind the authorization to use force against Iraq , but the approach of this legislation is quite different. This legislation would sunset the original authorization six months after it is in enacted, which would give Congress plenty of time to consider anew the authority for Iraq.
The rationale for this sunset is that according to the 2002 authorization for Iraq , the president was authorized to use military force against Iraq to achieve the following two specific objectives only:
“(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq ; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq ”
It should be obvious to both supporters and critics of our military action in Iraq that our military has achieved both legal objectives. Our military quickly removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, against whom the United Nations resolutions were targeted. And a government has been elected in post-Saddam Iraq that has met with US approval, fulfilling the first objective of the authorization.
With both objectives of the original authorization completely satisfied, Congress has a Constitutional obligation to revisit this issue and provide needed oversight and policy guidance. We ignore this obligation at risk to the United States and, very importantly, to our soldiers in harm’s way in Iraq .
Unlike other proposals, this bill does not criticize the president’s handling of the war. It does not cut off funds for the troops. Nor does this bill set a timetable for our withdrawal. I strongly believe that this legislation will enjoy broad support among both those in favor of our action in Iraq and those who favor ending the war, and I am encouraged by the bi-partisan support I have received when seeking original co-sponsors. Congress is obligated to consider anew the authority for Iraq sooner rather than later and I hope more of my colleagues will join me as co-sponsors of this legislation.