WASHINGTON, January 9 – Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the No War Against Iran Act, which denies the Pentagon of any funds for unauthorized use of military force against Iran. A measure to prohibit funds for an unconstitutional war with Iran passed by a bipartisan 251-member vote in the House of Representatives last year, though it was later stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act enacted in December.
In the Senate, the No War Against Iran Act is cosponsored by Senators Schumer (D-N.Y.), Leahy (D-Vt.), Markey (D-Mass.), Wyden (D-Ore.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cantwell (D-Wash.), Warren (D-Mass.), Van Hollen (D-Md.), Harris (D-Calif.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Merkley (D-Ore.).
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced a companion measure to defund unauthorized military action against Iran in the House of Representatives, with 58 cosponsors. The two lawmakers previously partnered on a bipartisan War Powers Resolution to end unconstitutional U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen last year, the first directive of its kind to be adopted by Congress in the 47-year history of the War Powers Act.
“The American people are sick and tired of endless wars. Nonetheless, the Trump administration has impulsively brought us to the brink of a disastrous and unnecessary war with Iran,” said Sanders. “The war in Iraq was the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of our country. We must learn from our mistakes, not repeat them. We need to invest our financial resources in improving lives here in America, not waste trillions more on wars. The Congress and the American people must do everything possible to prevent a war with Iran.”
“We must never forget that under our Constitution, Congress has the responsibility for making war—not the president,” Sanders continued. “Our Founding Fathers understood that it was only too easy for a president to lead the country into a disastrous military conflict. That is why they gave the exclusive power over war and peace to the people’s elected representatives. We cannot remain bystanders right now. It is imperative that the United States Congress provide the kind of leadership that our country needs by passing this legislation and defending the Constitution and the rule of law. President Trump does not have the right to go to war with Iran without authorization from the representatives of the American people.”
“This president promised to put an end to endless wars, but instead has prolonged current conflicts and even risks creating new ones,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “Last year, Senator Sanders and I led the effort to end the Trump-backed Saudi-led war in Yemen by passing a historic War Powers Resolution. Now, we are introducing this legislation to block funds for yet another unconstitutional war against Iran. Our legislation passed the House last year with 27 Republican votes and should have never been stripped out of the Defense bill. We have another chance to pass this legislation and avoid the next trillion-dollar war in the Middle East. It’s a necessary step to preserve our constitution and represent our constituents’ desire to avoid another catastrophic war.”
“The president’s erratic, reckless foreign policy is making America less safe and this Administration’s brazen willingness to undermine Congress’s war powers only underscores the need for this legislation,” said Leader Schumer. “The last thing the American people want is another endless war in the Middle East, and this legislation would provide a much-needed check on the president’s dangerous impulses. I urge my colleagues to lend their support.”
“An armed conflict with Iran would not only risk the lives of countless American servicemen and women, it would likely ignite another endless and enormously costly war in the Middle East, said Sen. Patrick Leahy. "Diplomacy should always be our preferred option, with military force occurring only if negotiations fail. With this bill, we make clear that an armed conflict with Iran requires the approval of the peoples’ representatives, after exhausting every other means.”
“We must stop a dangerous escalation with Iran,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell. “Congress has the power of the purse and we should use it by reminding the president he cannot go to war without authorization.”
“The Constitution is very clear that Congress has the authority to declare war and I am supporting this legislation to prevent the start of an unauthorized war with Iran. I am always guided by the hard lessons that should be learned when America chooses to go to war in the Middle East,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin. “After decades of U.S. military engagement in Middle East conflicts, Congress must not allow this administration to repeat the mistakes of the past. We have a constitutional responsibility to prevent the President from going to war with Iran and sending more American troops into harm’s way without congressional authorization.”
“I am concerned about the potential consequences of conflict with Iran and the president’s apparent lack of a coherent strategy going forward,” said Sen. Kamala Harris. “Make no mistake: Soleimani was an enemy of the United States, but Trump’s actions have further enflamed tensions and destabilized the region. It is essential that Congress take its constitutional responsibility seriously and work to de-escalate the situation.”
“Congress shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for a war that it has not authorized,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “The Constitution gives Congress the right and responsibility to both authorize and fund military operations. We are a co-equal branch of government, not a blank checkbook the Trump Administration can turn to after failing to provide transparent reasoning for its unauthorized military action.”
“This crisis was unnecessary and avoidable. Make no mistake—President Trump has made us less safe,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “Without seeking congressional authorization or presenting a clear strategy, President Trump brought us to the brink of war with Iran. President Trump must not take further military action unless he notifies Congress immediately and obtains authorization based on a clear explanation. That’s why I’m sponsoring the No War With Iran Act, and I urge my colleagues to support this critically needed bill.”
“At this dangerous moment in history, Congress must make something crystal clear to the Trump Administration: the Constitution gives Congress, not the Executive, the power to declare war with Iran,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen. “This legislation will rein in the reckless actions of the President and should be considered in the Senate without delay.”
Read the bill text here.