Jen Psaki says Biden wants to replace war authorization laws

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said President Biden wants to replace the decades-old war authorization laws with “a narrow and specific framework” that allows for “ending the forever wars.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the 2002 Iraq War authorization and the 1991 Gulf War authorization — but not the more expansive 2001 authorization against al Qaeda and associated terrorists.

Psaki tweeted, “We are committed to working with Congress to ensure that the authorizations for the use of military force currently on the books are replaced with a narrow and specific framework that will ensure we can protect Americans from terrorist threats while ending the forever wars.”

The term “forever wars” generally applies to the US intervention in Afghanistan since 2001 and presence in Iraq since 2003.

Kaine said that he introduced the bill this week in direct response to Biden’s bombing of alleged Iran-allied militants in Syria, which he said “show[ed] that the Executive Branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers.”

Biden did not cite a congressional war authorization when he informed Congress of his decision to launch the first airstrikes of his presidency, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said killed at least 22 people near the Syria-Iraq border.

The president instead cited his constitutional authority as commander in chief — a more far-reaching claim.

Biden wrote: “I directed this military action consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.” 

He said the bombing was in retaliation for a February attack on a US base in Iraq that wounded a US soldier and killed a contractor.

Courts generally dismiss any challenge to presidential war-making, saying that Congress can act if it wants to impose new limits.

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