WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a senior member of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit any war with Iran that is not authorized by Congress. A bipartisan majority of the Senate supported Udall’s amendment during consideration of the 2020 NDAA last year, but it did not clear the 60-vote threshold to advance instituted by the Republican Majority Leader. In March of this year, Congress sent a bipartisan Iran War Powers Resolution– preventing any unauthorized war against Iran – to President Trump for signature, but the president vetoed the bipartisan bill. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to “declare war.”
“The American people, through their representatives in Congress, have spoken,” Udall said. “They want no part of any war with Iran, no part of another endless conflict in the Middle East. This president has already come perilously close to waging armed conflict against Iran, risking the lives of American soldiers with his provocative actions toward Iran. He and his trigger-happy advisors need to be told – again – that Congress, and Congress alone, has the authority to declare war, and this president has no business putting our troops in harm’s way in Iran without Congress’s explicit authorization.
“If we think for a minute that the Trump administration isn’t ready and willing to go to war, think again,” Udall continued. “Just yesterday, the Trump administration’s Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, affirmed in no uncertain terms that, ‘The military option is always on the table,’ to stop any Iranian nuclear program. With this kind of continuing saber-rattling, we must send a clear message to the president and his administration that initiating war against Iran is beyond the powers this president or any president holds.”
The annual NDAA authorizes funding levels for national defense and sets policies under which the funding will be spent. The NDAA for fiscal year 2021 and amendments are being debated this week on the Senate floor.