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House votes to repeal 2002 authorization of military force in Iraq

The House voted 268-161 on Thursday to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, almost two decades after the resolution was first passed by Congress.

Why it matters: If passed by the Senate, the repeal of the AUMF would prevent U.S. presidents from carrying out attacks in Iraq without securing prior approval from Congress. The House also voted to repeal AUMF last year, but the measure was not taken up in the Senate and the Trump administration opposed the move.

The big picture: At the height of the Iraq War, over 150,000 service members were stationed in Iraq. The U.S. pulled 2,200 troops from Iraq last year, returning troop levels in the country to about the same number in 2015.

  • Between 2015 and 2020, U.S.-led air and artillery strikes killed nearly 1,400 civilians in Iraq and Syria, per the Washington Post. Some say the actual number is higher.
  • The resolution was cited as recently as last year to justify the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

What to watch: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has committed to holding a vote on repealing the 2002 AUMF this year, saying it would "eliminate the danger of a future administration reaching back into the legal dustbin to use it as a justification for military adventurism."

  • President Biden has also come out in support of repealing the authorization. The White House said in a statement that the U.S. has "no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis."
  • "[T]he President is committed to working with the Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are repealed with a narrow and specific framework appropriate to ensure that we can continue to protect Americans from terrorist threats," the White House said.

The big picture: The 2001 AUMF, which authorizes the U.S. to target perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, is viewed as a far more sweeping, blank-check resolution that has been cited for U.S. military activity all over the world.

  • The 2001 AUMF is still in effect and there is no sign that it will be repealed by Congress in the near future.
  • In his statement on the Iraq resolution, Biden mentioned working with Congress on "repealing and replacing other existing authorizations of military force" while ensuring "clear authority to address threats."

Vaccine mandates are suddenly much more popular

State governments, private businesses and even part of the federal government are suddenly embracing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for their employees.

Why it matters: Vaccine mandates have been relatively uncommon in the U.S. But with vaccination rates stagnating and the Delta variant driving yet another wave of cases, there's been a new groundswell of support for such requirements.

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American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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