January 9, 2020
On behalf of Win Without War, I am writing to urge you to support H.Con.Res.83, a concurrent resolution pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (WPR) of 1973, to terminate the use of U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in or against Iran.
The 1973 WPR was enacted to “fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution and insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities” or imminent hostilities. President Trump clearly violated this law and the U.S. Constitution when he assassinated Qasem Soleimani and other military officials without receiving authorization from or even providing notification to Congress. The administration’s argument that the strike was taken in self defense has not held up to scrutiny. Moreover, without a truly imminent threat that is so extreme and overwhelming that it would be unreasonable to seek the necessary approvals before taking action, the assassination violated international law and is not covered by his Article II power under the Constitution.
Qasem Soleimani’s assassination was an extreme, escalatory act of war that has brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of conflict — a war the American people do not want, and that would cause untold loss of life and suffering in Iran and the broader Middle East. This assassination, let alone a full-blown conflict, will have repercussions for U.S. national and global security for decades to come.
Given this, the House must not only pass this concurrent resolution, it must also put up additional roadblocks to rein in unilateral action by President Trump for war with Iran, including swiftly passing legislation to ensure no funds are used for unauthorized war with Iran and to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), a 17-year-old law that the current administration claimed – without merit – provided authority for its Soleimani operation. With that in mind, we strongly urge you to cosponsor H.R. 5543, Representative Khanna’s No War With Iran Act, and H.R. 2456, Representative Barbara Lee’s repeal of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force. As you know, both of these bills passed as amendments with bipartisan support in the House-passed version of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act before they were stripped out in conference. (See: roll call for Khanna | roll call for Lee).
Going to war is supposed to be hard. The Constitution’s framers were deeply worried about the power to wage war being concentrated solely in the Executive, believing that no one person should be responsible for such a momentous decision. The framers believed that the branch of government closest and most accountable to the people — the legislative branch — should be the ones to decide on whether the nation should go to war, precisely because they knew it would be hard for Congress to agree — not in spite of it.
We urge you to uphold the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution and pass H.Con.Res.83.
You can download a copy of this vote alert here.