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RELEASE: Reps. Khanna, Brown, Garamendi, Moulton Push To Prevent War With Iran In National Defense Authorization Act

June 13, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC  – Today, Representatives Ro Khanna (CA-17), Anthony Brown (MD-04), John Garamendi (CA-03), and Seth Moulton (MA-06) released the following statement after withdrawing an amendment to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit the Trump administration from putting the United States on the path to war with Iran without Congressional authorization.

The amendment made clear that no existing authorizations, including the 2001 authorization for use of military force, provides for war with Iran. It would have restricted the use of any funds authorized in this year’s NDAA to be made available to the Department of Defense or to any other Federal department or agency for any use of military force in or against Iran unless Congress has declared war; Congress has enacted specific statutory authorization for such use of military force; or a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States. These exceptions are in line with the War Powers Resolution.

The lawmakers were assured by HASC Chairman Adam Smith (WA-09) that there would be a vote on a similar proposal when the FY20 NDAA comes to the floor of the House of Representatives.

“A war with Iran would be an unconstitutional and illegal strategic blunder,” said Congressman Khanna. “I will continue to work with my colleagues when the defense bill comes to the floor next month to prevent funds from being used for a war with Iran. Congress must act now to prevent another costly and needless war.”

“The Trump administration cannot set us down the path to war with Iran without Congressional approval, no matter how many specious arguments they make about previous and unrelated authorizations,” said Congressman Brown. “We will continue our work to prevent President Trump from launching an unconstitutional or unauthorized war, and I’m proud to partner with my colleagues to reassert Congress’ constitutional authority.”

“This Congress must buck the trend of abdicating its Constitutional responsibility to debate and declare war,” said Congressman Garamendi. “The last three administrations have engaged in military conflict using the incredibly broad 2001 AUMF, and Congress has done little to reinsert itself into the process. I remain resolved in my determination to pass this amendment and ensure that Congress reasserts its responsibilities under Article I of the Constitution.”

“I fought against Iranians when I was in Iraq. If necessary, I’d do so again. But right now, going to war with Iran is not necessary,” said Congressman Moulton. “John Bolton and others in the Trump Administration are trying to drag us into Iran just as they dragged us into Iraq, using the same tactics to convince a weak Commander in Chief--who doesn't have the credibility to say no to war because he dodged serving in war himself--to lure us into conflict again. There's also a parallel with Vietnam: the Administration seems to be hoping to provoke a situation like the Gulf of Tonkin incident that they would use to justify a U.S. response. It is time to reassert Congress’s Constitutional authority and stop the rush to war.”  

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Rep. Khanna Contact: Heather Purcell, Heather.Purcell@mail.house.gov

Rep. Brown Contact: Matthew Verghese, Matthew.Verghese@mail.house.gov

Rep. Garamendi Contact: Eric Olsen, Eric.Olsen@mail.house.gov

Rep. Moulton Contact: Tim Biba, Tim@mail.house.gov