Legislation will reassert constitutional authority of Congress over matters of war

January 30, 2020- Washington, D.C.– On Thursday, January 30, 2020, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Representative Katherine Clark (MA-5) joined the U.S. House of Representatives in passing two bills that would prohibit taxpayer funding from being used to take military action against Iran without congressional authorization and repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), a military authorization that has been misinterpreted by the Trump administration and others a blank check for war.

“It is troubling to know that many young Americans, like my sons, have never known an America that wasn’t engaged in war. That has to stop,” said Congresswoman Clark. “Massachusetts families and families across America overwhelmingly oppose another unnecessary war in the Middle East because they know the consequences would be catastrophic. With this week’s vote, House Democrats emphatically reasserted our constitutional authority and said 'no' to endless wars. No matter the person or party, we cannot allow presidents to unilaterally push America into devastating conflicts abroad.”

“The American people are sick and tired of war in the Middle East,” said Brian Garvey, Organizer for Massachusetts Peace Action and Melrose Resident. “A new conflict with Iran endangers the lives of our military personnel, millions of people across the region, and our own citizens who suffer the costs of endless war. Congress must deny President Trump funding for an unconstitutional war with Iran. Instead we must deescalate tensions by returning to the Iran nuclear deal, renewing diplomacy, and bringing our troops home from the Middle East. We thank Congresswoman Clark for her leadership on these issues."

“I want to thank the House of Representatives for passing the No War Against Iran Act and voting to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) yesterday, and I want to thank Representative Clark for her support,” said Ian Harrington, Wayland Resident and Activist. “Passing the No War Against Iran Act shows people want to give diplomacy and international cooperation a chance instead of the current Administration policy of threats, drone attacks, and war planning. The current path is not only destabilizing and dangerous, but it could lead to a war with Iran that would be catastrophic for human lives, national security, and the health of the planet. Repealing the 2002 AUMF is important because the current Administration is using it to justify attacks such as the recent assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and shows that Congress is ready to turn the page and move away from destructive wars of choice.” 

At the beginning of this year, President Trump used the 2002 Iraq AUMF as cover to order the killing of Iranian officials. The U.S. House of Representatives responded to this dangerous escalation of conflict in the Middle East by reaffirming Congress’ authority over matters of war. The legislative initiatives passed by the House of Representatives would:

  • Prevent the President from unilaterally authorizing military force against Iran.
  • Prohibit federal funding for any use of military force in or against Iran unless Congress has declared war or enacted specific statutory authorization for such use of military force.
  • Immediately repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF, an outdated piece of legislation initially intended to address the perceived threat posed by the regime of Sadam Hussein almost 18 years ago.

According to a 2018 Brown University study, the United States has spent over $5.9 trillion on wars in the Middle East since 2001, totaling over $1 trillion more than all federal government spending in 2019. The report also found that over 480,000 people have died as a direct result of the conflicts, 244,000 of which were civilians, and that over 10 million people have been displaced due to violence.