January 30, 2020

Udall Applauds House Passage of Bills to Reassert Congressional War Powers

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of the bipartisan Prevention of Unconstitutional War Act of 2019released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted 228-175 and 236-136 to approve two resolutions that would prevent endless wars in the Middle East.

The two bills include the No War Against Iran Act, a bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) to bar federal funds from offensive military action in Iran that is similar to the Udall-authored bill and amendments offered to last year’s defense bill by Udall and Khanna. The second bill, sponsored by U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), would sunset the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that Congress passed in 2002, which launched the U.S.-led war in Iraq and has since been used as the legal justification for ongoing U.S. troop presence in the region, including the recent airstrike against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani that brought the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran.

“The two measures that the House has passed today represent a long-overdue exercise of congressional war powers,” Udall said. “I voted against the war in Iraq in 2002 because I believed it was a mistake. Nearly two decades later, it’s even clearer that this war was a disastrous misjudgment that continues to erode our international standing, and now this authorization is being abused far beyond Saddam Hussein and the borders of Iraq. That’s why I have also worked to prevent the United States from marching to war with Iran and engulfing our country in another endless conflict that the American people do not want. It’s now vital that the Senate take up and pass these bills, uphold our constitutional responsibilities, and protect our troops from another unnecessary military quagmire.”

Udall is the author of the bipartisan Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Actfirst introduced in 2018 and then again in 2019, a bill to prohibit the United States from expending funds which could lead to war with Iran without express approval from Congress, as required by the Constitution. His legislation – S. 1039 – currently has 27 cosponsors in the Senate. Udall also was the lead author of a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent unauthorized war with Iran, which received a bipartisan majority in the Senate in June of 2019, and the House included a similar amendment in their version of the bill in July 2019. In August, Udall and Khanna led a bipartisan, bicameral group of 28 lawmakers in calling on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to include his bipartisan amendment to prohibit unconstitutional war with Iran in the final NDAA.