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Congressman Denny Heck

Representing the 10th District of Washington

STATEMENT: Congressman Heck Commends House Vote to Repeal 2002 AUMF

Jan 30, 2020
Press Release

OLYMPIA, WA – Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) released the following statement about the U.S. House of Representatives vote to repeal to 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF):

“Authorizing military force is the most sobering responsibility Congress has.

“Washington’s 10th District includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where over 40,000 servicemembers are stationed. I am very aware that every decision I make can affect their lives and the lives of their families. I take that responsibility very seriously.

“In 2001, Congress passed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force only three days after the September 11th attacks. Because the country was still trying to determine exactly how we had been attacked, that AUMF was written broadly. In the time since, the 2001 AUMF has been used dozens of times to justify military action.

“Subsequently, Congress passed another AUMF in 2002, which authorized military action in Iraq. President Trump cited the 2002 AUMF as justification for his decision to kill Qassem Soleimani in early January, more than 17 years after the AUMF’s passage. Today the House voted to repeal the 2002 AUMF.

“I have advocated for the end of the 2002 AUMF since 2014, during my first term in Congress. But it was only when I joined the House Intelligence Committee last Congress that I fully appreciated the scope and scale of our missions around the world.

“I would have joined my colleagues in voting to repeal the 2002 AUMF today, and I was proud to cosponsor the underlying resolution. I strongly believe that Congress must reassert its role in decisions of when to use military force. The 2002 AUMF has been used to justify military action that had not been contemplated by Congress. By repealing it, Congress will bring grave decisions about war and military action closer to the people whose lives will be altered by them. I am glad the House voted for such an outcome today.”

Unfortunately, Congressman Heck was unable to cast his vote due to his inability to fly while recovering from an upper respiratory infection this week, ruining his otherwise perfect voting record during the 116th Congress.

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