January 07, 2020

Udall Joins War Powers Resolution to Prevent Unauthorized War with Iran

Also calls for a vote on his bipartisan Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act, co-sponsored by 27 senators

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) officially signed on as a cosponsor to a war powers resolution (S. Res. 63) to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran, introduced on Friday by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Udall is the author of the bipartisan Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act, first 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. In August, Udall 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. The Udall amendment received a bipartisan majority in the Senate when it was considered in June of 2019.

"The president has pushed us to the brink of a disastrous and illegal war with Iran that the American people do not want. As we deal with a reckless president and administration that are flouting the Constitution and re-using the public relations campaign peddled in the run-up to the Iraq war, Congress needs to step in,” Udall said.

“Since President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, he has weakened our national security and pushed us to the brink of a deadly war with no Congressional approval. The calls for war with Iran echo the same failed strategy that led us to invade Iraq. Congress must assert its constitutional authority to halt the march to war with Iran before we repeat our past mistakes and risk the lives of thousands more Americans while squandering our global reputation, with little chance of improving our long-term security,” said Udall. “Another endless war in the Middle East is not the ‘better deal’ the president promised. It’s past time for all members of Congress to stand up against this administration’s reckless aggression before more American lives are needlessly lost—Congress should pass this resolution and our bipartisan legislation to prohibit the use of funds for hostilities against Iran unless there is a specific authorization or declaration of war.”

Under the War Powers Act of 1973, such resolutions are privileged, meaning that the Senate can be forced to vote up or down on the legislation. The resolution requires the halt of any U.S. hostilities within 30 days unless explicitly authorized by law or a declaration of war, but does not prevent the United States from defending itself from attack. The resolution will force a public debate and vote in Congress as intended by the framers of the Constitution to determine whether United States forces should be engaged in these hostilities. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced that the U.S. House of Representatives will consider a similar resolution on the House floor this week.

The text of the resolution can be found here