The House voted to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force.
Supporters of the repeal argue it is outdated and unnecessary.
The legislation was signed into law to allow the United States military to take down President Saddam Hussein. The bill has been used to authorize other recent military acts.
The House voted 268-161, with 49 Republicans joining 219 Democrats in favor. Rep. Barbara Lee sponsored the legislation.
“Repeal can prevent our country from entering another protected protracted engagement under this outdated authority,” Representative Lee said. “We can’t afford to leave this in place indefinitely. For two decades, it has been in place. This is our opportunity to restore our constitutional role.”
With an endorsement from the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, repeal of the Iraq-focused measure appears to have its best chance of passage in years. Schumer vowed to bring the matter to the Senate floor this year after a committee mark-up planned for next week.
The White House said earlier in the week that it supports the legislation, stressing that no ongoing military activities rely upon the 2002 authorization.
Republicans argue that the 2020 authorization should not be repealed until new legislation is made.
“This feels like yet another political effort to undo one of President Trump’s boldest counterterrorism successes,” Representative Michael McCaul said after voting against the measure.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks believes the repeal will allow Congress to recall its constitutional obligation to war and peace.
“Our vote this morning to repeal the 2002 AUMF is not about relitigating our past. Rather, repealing this outdated authorization is about planning strategically for our future,” Meeks said.
The Senate bill from Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young would also repeal the Iraq-focused 1991 authorization for use of military force. If the Senate passes it, the two chambers will have to work out any differences in their two bills and vote on a final product before going to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.