August 06, 2019

Kaine Joins Colleagues to Call for Inclusion of Bipartisan Iran Amendment in Final NDAA

Bipartisan, bicameral group of 28 lawmakers call for final defense bill to include amendment prohibiting unauthorized and unconstitutional war with Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and U.S. Representatives Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) led a bipartisan, bicameral group of 28 lawmakers in calling on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to include a bipartisan amendment to prohibit unconstitutional war with Iran in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Many of the signers of today’s letter are members of key House and Senate defense and foreign affairs-related committees, and they are weighing in as House and Senate negotiators are working on the final version of the FY 2020 NDAA.

Udall, Paul, Khanna and Gaetz sponsored companion amendments in the Senate and House to the NDAA to prohibit an unauthorized war with Iran. The amendment passed the House as part of the NDAA, and it received support from a bipartisan majority in the Senate. 

“As you work towards a final conference report for the Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA, we write to express our strong support for the inclusion of a bipartisan amendment to prohibit an unauthorized and unconstitutional war with Iran,” the bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers wrote in today’s letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

In addition to Udall, Paul, Khanna and Gaetz, the letter is signed by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representatives Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Elissa Slotkin (D-NY) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.).

“Bipartisan majorities in both chambers have spoken up to defend Congress' constitutional authority over matters of war and peace.  With regional tensions high, the risk of the U.S. entering into war with Iran without authorization remains acute.  As a result, we believe that the final conference report for the FY 2020 NDAA must include the bipartisan amendment to prohibit an unauthorized and unconstitutional war with Iran,” the lawmakers wrote

The full letter can be found below and here.

Dear Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Thornberry:

As you work towards a final conference report for the Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA, we write to express our strong support for the inclusion of a bipartisan amendment to prohibit an unauthorized and unconstitutional war with Iran. 

House Amendment 423, a bipartisan amendment offered by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL), was adopted by a strong bipartisan vote of 251 to 170.  A bipartisan majority of the Senate also supported a similar amendment offered by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rand Paul (R-KY).  Both of these amendments would prohibit the use of funds for military force against Iran unless authorized by Congress or such use of force is consistent with the War Powers Resolution.

We have no illusions about the potential threats that Iran may pose, or its destabilizing activities in the Middle East.  These bipartisan amendments do not interfere with the United States Armed Forces' ability to defend themselves.  But under our constitution, any war requires congressional authorization. 

Bipartisan majorities in both chambers have spoken up to defend Congress' constitutional authority over matters of war and peace.  With regional tensions high, the risk of the U.S. entering into war with Iran without authorization remains acute.  As a result, we believe that the final conference report for the FY 2020 NDAA must include the bipartisan amendment to prohibit an unauthorized and unconstitutional war with Iran.

Thank you for your work on the FY 2020 NDAA and we look forward to working with you on this very important matter. 

Sincerely,

 

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