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 MerkleySenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Environmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail Senate Democrat says he is concerned intelligence community is 'bending' Soleimani presentations MORE (D-Ore.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial 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.

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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 MarkeySenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill Twitter tells facial-recognition app maker to stop collecting its data MORE (D-Mass.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial MORE (D-Mass.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden vows push to force release of Khashoggi assessment Wyden calls on NSA to examine White House cybersecurity following Bezos hack MORE (D-Ore.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenFox's Napolitano: There is 'ample and uncontradicted' evidence supporting Trump's removal from office Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation Democrats shoot down talk of Bolton, Hunter Biden witness swap MORE (D-Md.), and Bernie SandersBernie SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters 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. 

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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 LeeThe self-fulfilling Iran prophecy No patriotic poll bump for Trump, but Soleimani strike may still help him politically Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it 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.