GOP's Pete Meijer Says Congress Must Reclaim 'Authority Over War Powers' After Kabul

Republican congressman Peter Meijer is urging Congress to reclaim its war powers after dozens of people, including U.S. service members, were killed in a suicide bombing at Kabul airport.

Meijer, who represents Michigan's 3rd district, is one of a number of lawmakers who are calling for current policies to be scrapped and allow Congress to claw back their power to permit the use of military force over concerns that successive presidents have used "outdated" legislation to justify wars across the world.

The GOP lawmaker is one of the harshest critics of Joe Biden's planned withdrawal from Afghanistan following a 20-year-war, with the president attracting further scrutiny after the Taliban took over the capital of Kabul after just days after U.S. forces and its allies pulled out.

On Wednesday, as tens of thousands of people were still scrambling to get safely airlifted out of Kabul, a suicide bombing occurred at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport and a nearby hotel, killing at least 60 Afghanistan nationals and 13 U.S. servicemen.

The explosion occurred after officials had advised people to stay away from the airport because of security threats over a possible suicide bomb attack by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

On Wednesday night, Meijer paid tribute to the victims of the blast while once again calling for Congress to reclaim a say over U.S. military strikes and deployments from the executive branch.

"My heart is absolutely broken after today's horrific attack against Marines at Kabul Airport's Abbey Gate. I struggle to put together the right words knowing the pain that 13 families, and their fellow Marines, are going through tonight. No talk can ease that suffering," Meijer tweeted.

"On Tuesday I saw Marines bravely managing chaos at Abbey Gate. Today, the grave risk they took to save countless lives was made terribly clear. This was a position they should not have been in, but President Biden's reckless withdrawal gave them no other choice.

"Congress needs to reclaim its authority over war powers to ensure such a catastrophe never happens again," he added.

"Tonight, I grieve with the families. Tomorrow, we work to do everything we can to ensure no other family suffers a tragedy like this."

This is not the first time that Meijer, who was recently criticized for flying out to Kabul along with fellow veteran Seth Moulton to witness the evacuations first-hand, has publicly called for Congress to reclaim its war powers.

In May, he co-authored an opinion piece for USA Todaywith fellow lawmakers Mike Gallagher, Jared Golden, and Abigail Spanberger, stating that the "outdated, inactive" authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs) must be repealed.

"If members of Congress do not want the responsibility of debating and voting on decisions of war and peace—the responsibility to make tough, grave decisions that affect the lives of our service members and their families—then they should find a different profession," they wrote.

"When it comes to war powers, Congress is the ultimate authority. It's time we act like it."

There have already been bipartisan steps to scrap a number of AUMF acts. The House has voted to repeal the AUMFs which was used to launch the invasion of Iraq in 2002 by George W. Bush, as well as the 1991 law that authorized the Persian Gulf War.

There have also been calls to repeal the 2001 measure, which was established in the wake of the September 11 attacks in order to target those responsible.

However, Presidents Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all cited the 2001 measure to justify warfare targeting terrorist groups in countries such as Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

Meijer has been contacted for further comment.

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Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) arrives to a caucus meeting where they’ll hold a vote on a replacement for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as Chair of the House Republican Conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on May 14, 2021 in Washington, DC Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images