ACTON ALERT: Congress Tells Trump: ‘No War on Iran’
WASHINGTON (January 26, 2020) — Earlier this month, we got some disturbing news that the United States assassinated a top Iranian military commander without Congressional authorization.
Since then, Iran has launched missile attacks against US bases in a dangerous escalation of tension between our two countries.
It has been 19 years since I cast the only vote in Congress against the overly broad Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Since 2001, the AUMF has given presidents like Trump blank checks for endless war.
As Trump’s reckless behavior hurtles us toward war with Iran, I maintain that military force is not the answer.
This week, the House will vote on my bill to repeal the 2002 Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq. Trump has falsely claimed that the 2002 AUMF has given him the authorization to use military force in Iran, so we must do everything we can to stop him.
I’ll be clear: this administration’s reckless actions have put us on a path to war with Iran.
I have been fighting tooth and nail to repeal the AUMF for years. And you can bet I’ll keep fighting until we stop this blank check for endless war for good.
Thanks for signing. This is extremely important.
In solidarity, Barbara Lee
Trump Threatens to Veto House Bills Opposing Iran War: Says Bills Threaten US Ability to Defend US
(January 28, 2020) — Two bills expected up for vote in the House of Representatives later this week, both of which express Congressional opposition to an unauthorized US war in Iran, are being condemned by President Trump in a statement out of the White House, in which he threatens to veto both.
One of the bills aims to reassert language that was removed from the final version of the NDAA by the Senate, which explicitly forbids funding of any war against Iran without Congressional authorization. The other would repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force on Iraq (AUMF), since officials have at times claimed it also covers Iran.
The White House statement claimed that the bills made war with Iran “more likely” because they were undermine Trump’s ability to act against them. They promised veto although neither is yet expected to even be voted on in the Senate, let alone passed.
A previous House resolution that was a War Powers challenge to attacking Iran had already passed, and was believed to have enough votes to pass the Senate. It is unclear when it will be brought up, however, as the Senate has since transitioned to the impeachment
White House Threatens Veto of House Iran Bills
WASHINGTON (January 28, 2020) — The White House has threatened to veto a pair of bills the House plans to vote on this week aimed at restricting President Trump’s ability to wage war on Iran.
The veto threats were expected, but provide some additional insight into the administration’s view of the president’s war authorities.
The House is expected to vote Thursday on a bill from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) to block funding for military action against Iran and another bill from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).
In two separate statements, the White House slammed the bills as “misguided,” arguing their “adoption by Congress would undermine the ability of the United States to protect American citizens, whom Iran continues to seek to harm.”
The 2002 AUMF was passed to authorize the Iraq War and has been used by the Trump administration in its legal justification for the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, which took place on Iraqi soil.
In a statement of administration policy, the White House argued the 2002 AUMF – which authorizes military action to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq” – has “long been understood to authorize the use of force for, among other purposes, addressing threats emanating from Iraq, including threats such as ISIS-a group whose objectives have included establishing an Islamic state in Iraq and using that state to support terrorism against the United States-as well as threats directed by Iran.”
The statement claimed that Iran and Iranian-backed forces “continue to plan and execute attacks against United States forces in Iraq” and that the 2002 AUMF “provides critical authorities for the United States to defend itself and its partner forces.”
Repealing the authorization, the statement added, “would embolden our enemies.”
In a separate statement, the White House argued the bill to block funding for military action against Iran “would undermine the administration’s reestablishment of deterrence with Iran, which could perversely make violent conflict with Iran more likely.”
The statement also asserted the bill would “hinder the president’s ability to protect United States diplomats, forces and interests in the region from the continued threat posed by Iran and its proxies.”
Neither bill is likely to make it to Trump’s desk to veto. Both are considered dead on arrival in the Senate.
Khanna’s bill and Lee’s bill were both in the version of the annual defense policy bill the House passed in July. But they were taken out from the final version that was signed into law during negotiations with the Senate.
In July, Khanna’s proposal was approved 251-170, with 27 Republicans supporting. Lee’s was approved 242-180, with 14 Republican yeses.
It’s unclear how many Republicans will support the bills this time around. Just three Republicans supported a war powers resolution the House passed earlier this month that was also aimed at reining in Trump’s ability to strike Iran.
Republicans are also upset at the procedural tactics House Democrats are using to bring the Khanna and Lee bills to the floor. The House will vote on the bills as amendments to an unrelated bill — meaning Republicans won’t be able to offer a motion to recommit.
Such motions are the last opportunity to amend a bill and are used by the minority to send a message. The motions usually fail, but Republicans successfully used them several times last year to force centrist Democrats into tough votes and split with the party.
“This week we are going to vote on life and death, war and peace issues with minimal debate, no amendments, and now, as I understand it, not even a motion to recommit, the last vestige of having an alternative view expressed,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee said Tuesday at an unrelated hearing. “I think that ought to alarm all of us who care about this institution and care about our ability to work together on behalf of the country’s national security.”
Southern Politician Joins Vets to Ban National Guard from Undeclared Wars: Rep. Stewart Jones Introduces Bill to Keep S.C. Guard from Fighting Undeclared Wars
(January 27, 2020) — A bipartisan group of Afghanistan and Iraq war era veterans praised S.C. State Rep. Stewart Jones (SC-14) on Monday for introducing legislation requiring that South Carolina’s National Guard units cannot be deployed for foreign combat or combat support duties unless Congress has formally adopted a declaration of war as provided by the US Constitution.
“As veterans, we strongly support the US taking strong military action when necessary to defend American lives and interests,” said former Idaho Army National Guard Sgt. Dan McKnight, founder of BringOurTroopsHome.US, who served 18 months in Afghanistan. “We thank Rep. Jones for acting to ensure that when South Carolina’s men and women in uniform are involved, it’s done the right way, the way the Constitution provides.
“Rep. Jones’ bill simply says that before ordering South Carolina’s National Guard personnel to leave their families and do their job, Congress should first accept responsibility in the comforts here at home of doing their job. We shouldn’t ask National Guard personnel to have the courage to put their boots on the ground, unless Congress at least has the courage first to put their names on the line.”
Rep. Jones, a Republican, represents South Carolina’s 14th district (Greenwood and Laurens counties).
McKnight said Jones’ legislation is based on what’s been dubbed “Defend the Guard” legislation, first introduced last year in West Virginia by state Del. Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock County, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy who served as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan.
Nothing in HB 4728 would prevent the governor from mobilizing the National Guard to respond to a natural disaster or maintain civil order.
McKnight’s group in November organized a bipartisan conference in Washington, D.C., of lawmakers who plan to introduce the same bill in multiple state legislatures this year, hoping to exercise the powers of state governments under the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution to check and balance the power of the federal government to use state-based National Guard troops for long-term combat deployments.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes