Here’s how U.S. senators voted on major issues during the legislative week of March 13-17. The House was in recess.
REPEALING OUTDATED IRAQ WAR RESOLUTIONS
Voting 68 for and 27 against, the Senate on March 16, 2023, advanced a bill (S 316) that would repeal two authorizations for use of military force against Iraq that remain on the books even though Iraq is now a U.S. ally. Congress adopted the first AUMF in 1991 in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the second in 2002 ahead of America’s invasion of Iraq. U.S. presidents have used the measures as the legal basis for additional deployments to the Middle East and Africa without first obtaining congressional declarations of war as the Constitution requires. Under this bill, Congress would have six months to update U.S. war authority, and until it does so, President Biden could immediately deploy forces to protect national security without seeking congressional approval.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Supporter Todd Young, R-Ind., said repealing the AUMFs “would affect no current military operations,” but keeping them active “creates an opportunity for abuse by the executive branch and bypasses Congress on the most important issue we consider as a body — which is how and when to send our men and women in uniform into harm’s way.”
Supporter Tim Kaine, D-Va., said it is “painfully evident that the repeal of these authorizations is long, long overdue. [March 19] marks the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq….That war ended 12 years ago….Iraq today is a force for regional stability and the U.S. is their partner of choice. Why would we want two war authorizations against a nation that has become a partner of choice?”
No senator spoke against the bill.
A yes vote was to advance the resolution to extensive debate in coming days.
ERIC GARCETTI, AMBASSADOR TO INDIA
Voting 52 for and 42 against, the Senate on March 15, 2023, confirmed the nomination of Eric Garcetti as U.S. ambassador to India. Garcetti is a former mayor of Los Angeles and co-chair of President Biden’s 2020 election campaign. His nomination was stalled in the Senate for 21 months over charges that he failed to deal with allegations that Rick Jacobs, deputy chief of his mayoral staff, had sexually harassed employees in the mayor’s office and made racist comments about Asians and other minorities.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said: “My remarks are very simple. The United States-India relationship is extremely important, and it is a very good thing that we now have an ambassador.”
Opponent Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Garcetti “enabled sexual harassment and racism to run rampant in the Los Angeles mayor’s office….The Biden administration and all those who support this nomination have sent a message that victims will only be believed when politically convenient.…To my Senate colleagues, do you support victims of sexual harassment and racism or a man who enabled it for years, leaving many victims in his wake? You can’t support both.”
A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.
BRENT NEIMAN, DEPUTY TREASURY UNDER SECRETARY
Voting 54 for and 40 against, the Senate on March 15, 2023, confirmed the nomination of Brent Neiman, a University of Chicago economics professor, to head international finance operations for the Department of the Treasury. Working with other G-7 and G-20 countries representing the world’s largest economies, Neiman will direct American efforts to shape global economic and monetary policies and respond to crises in international markets. He has a doctorate of economics from Harvard with specialties in international macroeconomics, finance and trade.
There was no debate on the nomination.
A yes vote was to confirm Neiman as a deputy under secretary of the Treasury.