FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 28, 2020
Contact: Michael Galant [email protected] 203-260-4654
WASHINGTON — Win Without War Executive Director Stephen Miles released the following statement regarding the Trump administration’s two Statements of Administration Policy (SAPs) declaring the president’s intent to veto H.R.2456, Rep. Barbara Lee’s bill to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), and H.R.5543, Rep. Ro Khanna’s bill to block the use of funds for an unauthorized war with Iran, if they come to his desk:
“Trump’s veto threats make clear that this week’s House votes to rein in the imperial presidency are needed now more than ever. The administration’s claims regarding the House legislation to repeal the 2002 AUMF and defund an unauthorized war with Iran are outrageous from start to finish. Though Trump intends to make the case for Congress to continue to defer to the executive branch in matters of war and peace, the statements themselves are proof positive that Congress must pass these bills.
“Trump’s claim that the 2002 AUMF, which H.R.2456 finally repeals, is a legal basis for starting a war with Iran is a dubious and deeply dangerous precedent. When Congress passed the 2002 AUMF, launching a war with Iran was clearly in neither the language, nor intent, of the bill. If Trump’s justification is allowed to survive, it will effectively rewrite the law, allowing him and future administrations to unilaterally wage war against any state it deems a threat emanating from or to Iraq.
“The Trump administration also claims that Rep. Khanna’s bill to block funds for an unauthorized war with Iran would take away the powers of the president to take action in the U.S.’s self-defense. This is a (likely deliberate) misreading of the bill for the purposes of protecting the power of the imperial presidency. H.R.5543 does nothing to prevent the legitimate use of the Commander-in-Chief’s powers for self-defense. Rather, it restates existing law with regard to the president’s authority to wage war, and asserts Congress’s constitutional power of the purse to prevent Trump from starting a catastrophic war with Iran without Congressional approval.
“It is past time for Congress to reassert its constitutionally-vested authority and rein in the out-of-control warmaking powers of the presidency. We applaud Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, and the House leadership, for advancing this critical legislation. We call on Congress to pass both H.R. 2456 and H.R.5543 in the face of Trump’s baseless attacks.”
Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.