Durbin Delivers Floor Remarks Ahead Of Senate Cloture Vote On Repeal Of 1991, 2002 Iraq AUMFs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of today’s cloture vote to repeal both the 1991 and 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq.  Durbin was one of 23 Senators to vote against the 2002 Iraq War AUMF. 

“When the Constitution was written, there were some fundamental principles included.  One of them said that any declaration of war in the United States had to have the approval of the American people through their elected representatives in Congress.  It was an important responsibility… I'm sure you recall, and I do too, October of 2002, when this Senate was called on with the House of Representatives to consider the invasion of Iraq and the Authorization of Use of Military Force for that purpose,”Durbin said.

Durbin continued, “There were 23 of us, one Republican and 22 Democrats, who voted against that Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq.  I look back on it, as I'm sure others do, as one of the most important votes that I ever cast. It was not only a decision about going to war, but it was a false argument that weapons of mass destruction were threatening anyone.  After invading and making the commitment of American military force, along with our allies, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq.  It was a lie perpetrated by those who wanted to drag the United States into the Middle East for a long-term commitment and a dubious threat to our country.  The repeal of this Authorization of Use of Military Force does not mean that the United States has become a pacifist nation.  It means that the United States is going to be a constitutional nation, and the premise of our Founding Fathers will be respected.” 

Durbin concluded, “If there is cause for us to use military force in the future, we should properly follow the Constitution and let the American people have their own voice in this process, through their elected representatives in Congress.  I am a cosponsor and fully support the removal of the Authorization of Use of Military Force and believe it's consistent with the vote many of us cast in 2002 against that premise.”

In 2021, Durbin introduced the Accountability for Endless Wars Act of 2021—to terminate AUMFs and declarations of war no later than 10 years after the enactment of such authorizations or declarations.  He plans to reintroduce the bill later this month. 

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.