In a move underscoring that the U.S. Congress has the sole constitutional power to declare war, Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee and Ilhan Omar announced a War Powers Resolution in the House on Sunday as a companion version to that introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine in the Senate on Friday.
“Let’s not mince words: the assassination of Qasem Soleimani was an act of war undertaken without Congressional authorization, in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America,” said Congresswoman Omar of Minnesota in a statement. “Following the assassination, thousands of additional troops were sent to the Middle East in one of the largest rapid deployments seen in decades. This follows years of saber-rattling and threats of war against Iran by President Trump and his accomplices. We in Congress must exercise our Constitutional duty—and do everything in our power to stop another disastrous war.”
Last week’s assassination of Soleimani, ordered by Trump, sparked domestic and international outrage with concerns of further escalations only growing as Trump continued to threaten war crimes against the people of Iran over the weekend.
In a tweet announcing the resolution, Omar said, “The stakes could not be higher.”
In her statement, California’s Congresswomen Lee—one of the most outspoken anti-war voices in the U.S. House—said that it is beyond time that lawmakers in Washington, D.C. do their duty to rein in a president openly and recklessly agitating for war.
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“For far too long, Congress has been missing in action on matters of war and peace,” Lee said. “Make no mistake: the assassination of Qasem Soleimani places us on the brink of war with Iran. Trump’s reckless military actions, without Congressional approval or authorization, have caused this crisis. We have been down this dangerous path before in Iraq, and we cannot afford another ill-advised, destructive, and costly war in the Middle East. It’s past time for Congress to reassert our Constitutional authority and return to diplomacy with Iran and our allies.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna also introduced a separate bill on Friday that would bar any Pentagon funding for “military force in or against Iran” without congressional approval.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that a vote on a War Powers Resolution would come as early as this week, though it was not clear if leadership has decided on the complete language for its version. In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi said the effort on the resolution in the House would be a spearheaded by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former CIA and Department of Defense analyst specializing in Shia militias.
According to the Speaker, the resolution the House will vote will be similar to the resolution introduced by Kaine in the Senate. “It reasserts Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities,” she said, “by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days.”
The text of Kaine’s resolution, which Omar and Lee linked to in their joint statement, can be read in full below: