Defense

Senate panel rejects requiring Congress sign off before Iran strike

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday rejected a Democratic proposal to require congressional approval before the U.S. can take military action against Iran.

 

The panel voted 13-9 against a proposal blocking the administration from using funding to carry out a military strike in or against Iran without congressional signoff, according to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the committee. 

Murphy and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said earlier Wednesday that they were going to bring up their proposal for a vote in the committee as an amendment to a Syrian foreign policy bill.

 

"Congress is a co-equal branch that has the sole authority to declare war - so we don't have to sit around and watch this administration spiral us into another endless conflict in the Middle East," Udall said in a statement.  

 

Murphy added that Congress should "remind this administration that they do not have legal authorization to launch a war against Iran without our consent and that no one else is responsible but Trump for putting us on this blind campaign of escalation with no off-ramp."

 

The push for a vote comes a day after top members of the administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, briefed lawmakers on intelligence detailing recent actions by Iran, as President Trump and Republicans have warned of a growing threat from Tehran.

 

Shanahan appeared to try to tamp down concerns about a the potential for a military conflict with Iran after the briefing. 

 

"We have deterred attacks based on our reposturing of assets, deterred attacks against American forces," he told reporters. "Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation. We do not want the situation to escalate. This is about deterrence, not about war."

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