Bipartisan duo introduces amendment to block war with Iran without congressional approval
Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat whose district includes Silicon Valley in California, is known for his vocal opposition to President Trump and his status as one of the House's most progressive members. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from the panhandle of Florida, has made waves with his fiery Fox News appearances and his staunch support for the president.
But although they are ideological opposites on nearly every issue, Khanna and Gaetz agree on a key issue: the president can't start a war with Iran without Congress' stamp of approval.
On Tuesday, Khanna and Gaetz introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent federal funds from being used for any military force in Iran without congressional approval. The president has argued he has the authority under current law to launch strikes against Iran without going to Congress first.
The pair applauded the Senate on Thursday for agreeing to hold a vote on a similar bipartisan amendment in the upper chamber on Friday.
In a statement, Khanna referenced Mr. Trump's last-minute decision to call off a strike against Iran after the downing of an American drone. Last week, Mr. Trump ordered the military to conduct a limited strike against Iran in retaliation, but then called off the operation just an hour before it was to begin.
"Last week, we watched President Trump come within minutes of striking Iran and involving the United States in yet another trillion-dollar war in the Middle East," said Khanna. "President Trump campaigned on ending costly wars overseas but given the advisors he chose and his recent risky actions, he is not living up to that promise."
"This bipartisan amendment is a vital safeguard against unilateral actions by this president who selected the architect of the Iraq war to be his national security advisor. This amendment is also proof that opposition to war with Iran transcends partisan politics," Khanna continued, referring to national security adviser John Bolton.
Gaetz was less critical of the president in his statement, saying that the amendment only confirmed Mr. Trump's belief.
"This amendment affirms what President Trump knows and believes: unfocused, unconstitutional, unending wars in the Middle East make America weaker, not stronger," Gaetz said. "The United States must be strong in its approach to Iran, and I applaud President Trump for acknowledging that strength can be demonstrated through mindful restraint. Iran must be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon and threatening international peace, but Congress must resolve to ensure that any military action is carried out Constitutionally."
Democrats in the Senate have also put forward an amendment to the NDAA that would bar use of federal funds for conflict in Iran without congressional approval.
The president threatened "obliteration" of Iran if the country carries out an attack on "anything American" in a series of tweets on Tuesday. Mr. Trump also suggested Wednesday that any potential war with Iran "wouldn't last very long."
In an interview with Hill.TV on Monday, Mr. Trump said he did not believe he needed congressional approval to launch a strike against Iran.