Washington, DC – Today a bipartisan majority of the Senate voted in favor of the Udall-Kaine amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to block the Trump Administration’s path to war with Iran. While the measure failed to cross the 60-vote threshold needed for passage in the Senate, it sent a clear message of bipartisan concern over the Administration’s recent threats of military action.
This amendment to the annual defense policy bill would have prevented funding for war with Iran that is not authorized by Congress, and reinforced the constitutional authority of Congress to decide when and where to go to war. While maintaining the president’s ability to respond to an attack on U.S. forces deployed in the region, this amendment would have prevented President Trump from starting an unauthorized war of choice with Iran.
While it’s an irrefutable victory with more than half the Senate voting in favor of the amendment, it did not pass because Republican leadership, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, failed to stand up to the White House and reclaim Congress’ war making prerogatives. Today Democrats and Republicans came together because they understand the American people, who they are tasked to represent, do not want war with Iran.
This vote serves as a strong message to President Trump and Republicans that they are on the wrong side of this issue. It is critical, now more than ever, that Congress assume its sole authority in deciding when to put American lives into harm’s way, especially as tensions in the Middle East rise and the President continues to send more troops to the region. President Trump and the Iran hawks he surrounds himself with have made it clear that they will not look to Congress for authority to start a military conflict with Iran. This is all the more reason Congress must rise to its constitutional responsibility and stop the White House from leading the country into an unnecessary war.
Andrew Albertson, executive director for FP4A notes “There is no more important policy decision for our country – and this Congress – to make than the decision to go to war. Today’s vote represents a clear bipartisan rebuke to the Trump Administration’s reckless and incompetent approach to Iran, and conveys the Senate’s clear preference for pursuing a diplomatic approach to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We call on the Administration to reconsider its failed strategy of maximum pressure and to return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal without delay.”