Senators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war

Senators on Wednesday introduced a resolution stressing that neither the 2001 nor 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) covers a potential war with Iran. 

The resolution, spearheaded by Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war On The Money: Senate panel advances Trump’s new NAFTA despite GOP gripes | Trade deficit falls to three-year low | Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE (D-Ore.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Paul fires back at Graham over Iran criticism: ‘He insults the Constitution’ Senators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war MORE (R-Ky.), comes after days of escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran in the wake of a U.S. airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top military general.

“The American people do not want another endless war in the Middle East — yet what we’ve seen in recent days is a president willing to make significant military decisions bringing us closer to war without consulting Congress or recognizing that our Constitution gives war making power to Congress, not the President,” Merkley said in a statement.

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Paul added that Congress could “take a major step toward reasserting our voice by making it clear” that neither of the George W. Bush-era war declarations cover a conflict with Iran.

“It is time for Congress to stop using previous AUMFs as an excuse to continue abdicating its constitutional responsibility on war,” he said.  

Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war Overnight Defense: Iran takes credit for rocket attack on US base | Trump briefed | Trump puts talk of Iraq withdrawal on hold | Progressives push to block funding for Iran war | Trump backs off threat to hit Iranian cultural sites Senate Republican blocks unanimous consent on resolution calling targeting cultural sites a war crime MORE (D-Mass.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump trade deal faces uncertain Senate timeline Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Senators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war MORE (D-Mass.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war Grassley says he wants to rein in Trump tariff powers How Congress can help curb skyrocketing prescription drug prices MORE (D-Ore.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran ‘standing down’ | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Democrats ‘utterly unpersuaded’ by evidence behind Soleimani strike MORE (D-Md.), and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war Ex-Trump campaign adviser: Biden would be able to ‘sit down and get some things done’ with Republicans Cardi B says she’s filing for ‘Nigerian citizenship’ because Trump is putting lives ‘in danger’ MORE (I-Vt.) are co-sponsoring the resolution. 

The one-page resolution states that “neither the Authorization for Use of Military Force … nor the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 … may be interpreted as a statutory authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” 

The Trump administration has pointed to the 2002 AUMF as its legal authorization for the strike. 

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Senators say they decided to introduce the resolution after a closed-door briefing with top administration officials who, according to Democrats, did not present evidence that Soleimani was killed to prevent an “imminent” threat. 

Paul and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTrump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Paul fires back at Graham over Iran criticism: ‘He insults the Constitution’ Senators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war MORE (R-Utah) also railed against the briefing afterward because they say an official warned that publicly debating Trump’s war authority “emboldened” Iran. 

“I find this insulting and demeaning … to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States,” Lee said of the comment.  

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