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RELEASE: HASC member Rep. Khanna calls on Trump Administration to prioritize military-to-military communication with North Korea, reintroduces ‘No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act’

January 18, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, amid growing concerns and escalating tensions with Pyongyang, Rep. Ro Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, led more than 30 bipartisan members in sending an urgent letter to the Trump Administration, calling for re-establishment of military-to-military communication. The letter reads, “the United States (U.S.) should do all in its power to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to nuclear war.” The letter expresses strong support for recent developments that have led to North Korea’s decisions to agree to talks with South Korea and to reopen a military hotline with South Korea.

These actions provide hope for a peaceful resolution to the escalation in tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, the letter says. The United States has military-to-military channels with every other nuclear weapons state in the world, including Russia, China, and Pakistan, and maintained these lines with the Soviet Union until its collapse. The letter also urges the Trump Administration to “avoid actions that could contribute to a breakdown in talks, and continue to search for confidence-building measures that are conducive to dialogue.”

“We must take these necessary steps to minimize the risk of war and miscalculation. It’s imperative to our nation’s national security to push for diplomatic efforts with North Korea and ensure President Trump cannot attack North Korea without prior approval of Congress. I thank my colleagues for their partnership on this cause and will continue to be a strong and vocal advocate for a diplomatic solution to the threat of nuclear war,” said Rep. Khanna.

 “As Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric continues to put U.S. national security at risk and the North Korean regime continues to test American patience and resolve, we must do everything we can to reduce the potential for accidental conflict. Reestablishing military-to-military communication with Pyongyang is one important step in the right direction,” said. Rep. Blumenauer.

“The United States communicates with the military of every other nuclear-armed country in the world, and North Korea should be no exception. We must do everything in our power to prevent a military accident that could have horrific consequences for America and for the entire world,” said Rep. Nolan.

 “Americans shouldn’t be forced to live in fear of a nuclear war with North Korea because President Trump can’t control his Twitter temper tantrums. President Trump’s reckless rhetoric continues to escalate tensions between the United States and North Korea and puts American lives in danger. This war of words must end,” Rep. McGovern said. “We must open new lines of communication between our countries’ military and diplomatic leaders and take the strong steps needed to prevent any unplanned conflict. America and the world cannot afford a nuclear war.”

“We must exhaust all diplomatic efforts to address the North Korea nuclear threat, and to ensure the safety of the United States and our allies. A military-to-military exchange of information strategy is a proven tactic that we have historically and successfully employed with all other nuclear capable countries,” said Rep. McNerney.

“It is imperative that Congress and the Trump Administration take immediate action to de-escalate tensions with North Korea,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “Diplomacy is the only solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump’s saber-rattling is putting lives in danger and heightening the risks of a devastating war.”

The following 33 members have signed the letter: Reps. Mark Pocan (WI-02), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Rick Nolan (MN-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Walter Jones (NC-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Eleanor Homes Norton (DC-AL), Peter Welch (VT-AL), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Gene Green (TX-29), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Don Beyer (VA-08), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Tim Walz (MN-01), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Judy Chu (CA-27), David Price (NC-04), Bobby Scott (VA-03), David Price (NC-04), David Scott (GA-13), Bobby Rush (IL-1), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), and Jerry McNerney (CA-9).

Additionally, Rep. Khanna reintroduced the ‘No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act.’ The bill was previously sponsored by retired Congressman John Conyers Jr. in the House and by Senator Ed Markey in the upper chamber.

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will ensure that President Trump cannot attack North Korea without approval of Congress through prohibiting any expenditure of funds for such a strike, which is already prohibited by the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.  The bill reaffirms these protections by restricting funds available to the Department of Defense or to any other federal department or agency from being used to launch a military strike against North Korea without the prior approval of Congress or the imperative to respond to an attack against the United States or its allies.

The legislation is endorsed by: American Civil Liberties Union, Ploughshares Fund, Council for a Livable World, Arms Control Association, Win Without War, Indivisible, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace Action, Union of Concerned Scientists, Beyond the Bomb, Women Cross DMZ, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, Global Zero, Korea Peace Campaign, Veterans For Peace, Women's Action for New Directions, Women for Genuine Security, United Methodist Women, Action One Korea, GoodFriends USA, Presbyterian Church USA, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, and National Association of Korean Americans.

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About the Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at khanna.house.gov. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @RepRoKhanna. Khanna Press Office: 202-225-2631