Sen. Rand Paul Along With Other GOP Lawmakers Propose Amendment To Put An End To United States’ Endless Wars

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), discusses the debt ceiling at a press conference in the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023.

The United States Senator is currently decanting a bill that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force in Iraq. 

Bill S.316 was introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) but sponsored by many Republicans and Democrats alike. However,m Senator Rand Paul’s proposal to amend the text of the bill that would repeal the 2001 war resolution was voted down with 87 votes against and 9 votes in favor.

The DC Enquirer reported:

According to Paul Kane, the Washington Post‘s congressional reporter, the votes for Senator Paul’s amendment were Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sander (I-VT), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Mr. Kane noted in his Twitter post that the 2001 war resolution has been mostly used to justify military action since its passage.

Senator Paul explained why he thought it necessary to introduce his amendment in a post on Twitter. He said “[a]s we vote to repeal the 1991/2002 AUMFs, we need to take the additional step of also repealing the Authorization for the war in Afghanistan. That’s why I again introduced an amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF.”

The Kentucky Republican expounded upon his reasons in a press release saying that “[t]he 2001 authorization to bring the 9/11 terrorists to justice was warranted, but like the Iraq war, the Afghan war has long ago ended – yet its authorization remains on the books. War is sometimes necessary, but going to war should not be the decision of one person. Ending congressional authorization for the Gulf war, Iraq war and Afghanistan war returns the war power to the American people and their representatives.”

Dr. Paul also wrote an opinion piece in Responsible Statecraft where he argued in favor of his amendment. He noted that “if we stop with just repealing the Iraq War authorization, I fear nothing will change” given the war powers Congress ceded in its 2001 authorization.”

Many Republicans debate on the merits of the current bill without Dr. Paul’s amendments. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) was reported to comment in Politico that “[v]oters are tired of wars that don’t have any justification or basis. The Iraq thing, that was not justifiable … And that’s hard for my party to admit. Because they pushed it, they carried the water for it.”

John Thune (R-SD), Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s deputy, said that “I personally believe they serve important legal and presidential functions when it comes to the war on terror, there is a diversity of opinion among Republicans.”

Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wanted to introduce an amendment to update the war resolutions act rather than just repeal them. Graham said “I understand Saddam is gone. The war is over. But we do have soldiers stationed in Iraq and close to the Iraqi government. And I want to make sure that if you repeal the 2002 [authorization for the use of military force], you replace it with something that’s relevant to today.”

Graham’s attempt to amend the bill was rejected by a vote of 36 in favor to 60 against.

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