Senators introduce resolution warning that Congress has not authorized Iran war

Senators on Wednesday introduced a resolution stressing that neither the 2001 nor 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) covers a potential war with Iran. 

The resolution, spearheaded by Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOregon GOP Senate nominee contradicts own campaign by saying she stands with QAnon Oregon GOP Senate nominee posts video in support of QAnon conspiracy theory We need just recovery for the coronavirus and climate crises MORE (D-Ore.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Doctors push Trump to quickly reopen country in letter organized by conservatives MORE (R-Ky.), comes after days of escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran in the wake of a U.S. airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top military general.

“The American people do not want another endless war in the Middle East — yet what we’ve seen in recent days is a president willing to make significant military decisions bringing us closer to war without consulting Congress or recognizing that our Constitution gives war making power to Congress, not the President,” Merkley said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

Paul added that Congress could "take a major step toward reasserting our voice by making it clear" that neither of the George W. Bush-era war declarations cover a conflict with Iran.

"It is time for Congress to stop using previous AUMFs as an excuse to continue abdicating its constitutional responsibility on war," he said.  

Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: New documents show EPA rolled back mileage standards despite staff, WH concerns | Land management bureau grants 75 royalty rate cuts for oil and gas | EPA employees allege leadership interference with science in watchdog survey EPA's Wheeler grilled by Democrats over environmental rollbacks amid COVID-19 Markey says EPA administrator should apologize to minorities for coronavirus response MORE (D-Mass.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPentagon charts its own course on COVID-19, risking Trump's ire Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D-Mass.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel House to consider amendment blocking warrantless web browsing surveillance COVID-19 increases importance of implementing reforms to organ donation system MORE (D-Ore.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Economic fears deepen as US escalates tensions with China Pelosi says House is looking at bill that could delist some Chinese companies from US stock exchanges MORE (D-Md.), and Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel Biden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden MORE (I-Vt.) are co-sponsoring the resolution. 

The one-page resolution states that "neither the Authorization for Use of Military Force ... nor the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 ... may be interpreted as a statutory authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic Republic of Iran." 

The Trump administration has pointed to the 2002 AUMF as its legal authorization for the strike. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Senators say they decided to introduce the resolution after a closed-door briefing with top administration officials who, according to Democrats, did not present evidence that Soleimani was killed to prevent an "imminent" threat. 

Paul and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhite House withdraws ATF nominee after GOP pushback Hillicon Valley: Commerce announces new Huawei restrictions | Russian meddling report round five | Google's ad business in spotlight Justice Department signals opposition to Senate's surveillance bill MORE (R-Utah) also railed against the briefing afterward because they say an official warned that publicly debating Trump's war authority "emboldened" Iran. 

"I find this insulting and demeaning ... to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States," Lee said of the comment.