June 20, 2019

VIDEO: Udall Calls on Congress to Vote to Prevent Unconstitutional War with Iran

Speaks on Senate floor to call for a vote on bipartisan NDAA amendment to halt the administration’s march to war

VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/senatortomudall/videos/1313254348824360/

WASHINGTON  As tensions continue to escalate between Iran and the Trump administration, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) took to the Senate floor to call on Congress to step up and reassert its constitutional authority to halt the administration’s reckless march to an unconstitutional war. In a series of back-to-back speeches with U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Udall urged the Senate to pass their bipartisan Udall amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would block funds from being used for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

This week, President Trump ordered another 1,000 troops to the Middle East following Iran’s announcement that it would exceed uranium enrichment levels previously agreed to under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and just days after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. These actions come just over a year after President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA over the objections of national security leaders and our allies, launching a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. This campaign includes dramatically increasing economic sanctions designed to completely cut off Iran’s oil trade, its ability to meet the requirements of the JCPOA, and other economic activity.  Both Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton previously advocated for military strikes and regime change in Iran.

The senators are seeking an immediate vote by the full Senate to restrict funding for an unauthorized war with Iran during consideration of the NDAA, which is the pending business on the Senate floor. “This amendment – recognizing Congress’s clear cut authority -- should have broad bipartisan support.  Whether you support armed conflict with Iran or believe that war would be a disaster. You should have the courage to cast a vote when the Constitution says that’s your job,” Udall said.

Udall spoke out against provoking another endless war in the Middle East, which would require endless resources and endless sacrifices from the American people. “A war with Iran is not in our strategic interest,” Udall said. “And a majority of Americans agree.  The American people are tired of forever wars in the Middle East that take our resources, produce no strategic gains and, most tragically, endanger the lives of American men and women.” 

He emphasized that under the Constitution, Congress alone has the power to declare war -- a responsibility it has ceded to the executive branch for too long. “The Constitution puts this decision squarely in our court.  It is long past time for Congress to reassert its war power authority,” continued Udall.  “Our oath demands that we make any decision to go to war.  The real possibility that this administration will precipitate conflict in Iran requires us to face this question now.”

“[T]he fact that American lives will be on the line places the moral imperative on us to debate this issue. And make it clear to the President and his administration that any decision to go to war with Iran must be made by Congress,” Udall concluded.

Udall has long championed efforts in the Senate to prevent presidents from going to war without congressional authorization, including introducing bipartisan legislation to prevent an unconstitutional war with Iran during the last two Congresses. 

The full text of Udall’s remarks as prepared for delivery is available HERE