The House voted on Tuesday to repeal a pair of decades-old war authorizations.
A 1991 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in Iraq and a 1957 authorization for military action in the Middle East was repealed with bipartisan support in a 355-46 vote.
The repeals come on the heels of a bipartisan House vote earlier this month to repeal the 2002 Iraq War authorization.
Members of Congress are seek to repeal the authorizations before they are abused. The 1991 law hasn’t been invoked since the brief conflict that pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait three decades ago; the 1957 Middle East authorization was never invoked.
“The fact that it hasn’t been misused or hasn’t been abused doesn’t mean that that possibility doesn’t exist at some point in the future,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in an interview.
“We should endeavor … to ensure that our authorizations for use of military force are available for the portions of time when they are necessary and then they are done,” she added.
The bills now head to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to hold a vote on the 2002 repeal this year.
“By not repealing an AUMF and allowing it to remain long after it has served this purpose, we open the door for future administrations of either party to abuse that authority and stretch the authorization far beyond its original purpose,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks said.
“The specific point of this law was accomplished,” House Foreign Affairs Committee member Michael McCaul said. “Therefore there’s not reason to leave it on the books. It is, in that sense, very different from the 2002 Iraq AUMF.
Republicans argue repealing the 2002 law could hamstring counterterrorism missions, though the main authorization for those operations is the 2001 AUMF.