May 16, 2019

Udall’s Bipartisan Bill to Prevent War with Iran Gains Momentum in the Senate

WASHINGTON – As the Trump administration continues to escalate tensions with Iran, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.)’s bipartisan bill to prevent an unconstitutional war with Iran is gaining support in the Senate. In the last week, U.S. Senators Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Tom Carper (D-Del.) have signed on as co-sponsors of Udall’s Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act, legislation 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.  

Udall, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reintroduced the legislation this April. Original cosponsors include Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

“This administration has made it perfectly clear that they intend to continue escalating tensions with Iran, breaking with our allies to try and provoke an outright war. Saber-rattling foreign policy advisors like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are ripping from the same playbook that launched us into the failed invasion of Iraq, making questionable claims and using selective intelligence leaks, all while trying to bait Iran into conflict and push the president to launch what would be a catastrophic military engagement,” Udall said. “One of the most important lessons of Iraq is that all it takes for a tragic debacle of a war to start is inaction or silence from those who know better. That’s why we must act now to assert Congress’ authority, and block an unconstitutional war that lacks congressional authorization. I commend my colleagues for joining me in this effort – and I call on every senator to learn from the catastrophic missteps of Iraq and sign onto this legislation to actively assert Congress’ constitutional authority.”

The full text of the bill is available HERE.

The Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019 underscores that Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States grants Congress the sole power to declare war, and makes it clear that a preemptive attack against Iran is illegal under both the War Powers Act and the United States Constitution. The bill also affirms the United States’ ability to respond to an imminent military threat from Iran and defend U.S. citizens who may come under threat of physical harm. 

The legislation has earned the support of a broad coalition of organizations, including VoteVets, JStreet and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.