WASHINGTON D.C.—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, last week joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) in sponsoring an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent federal funds from being used for military force against Iran without congressional authorization. In addition, this amendment incorporates a proposal from Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI-9) to clarify that the 2001 (al Qaeda/Afghanistan) and 2002 (Iraq) Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) do not provide legal justification for the use of military force against Iran.


“If the President wants to attack Iran, he needs to come to Congress for authorization. The Constitution gives Congress—not the President—the power to declare war,” said Chairman Engel. “This measure reaffirms our role and the importance of checks and balances on this critical issue. Congress is a coequal branch of government, and we are going to assert our constitutional role whether Donald Trump likes it or not. The United States does not have an interest in an armed conflict with Iran, but I’m deeply concerned that the Trump Administration’s failure to de-escalate heightened tensions in the region may lead us to stumble into war anyway. I’m proud to join with Mr. Khanna and Mr. Levin and I’m grateful for their leadership on this issue.”


“Last week, we watched President Trump come within minutes of striking Iran and involving the United States in yet another trillion-dollar war in the Middle East,” said Rep. Khanna. “President Trump campaigned on ending costly wars overseas but given the advisors he chose and his recent risky actions, he is not living up to that promise. This bipartisan amendment is a vital safeguard against unilateral actions by this president who selected the architect of the Iraq war to be his national security advisor. This amendment is also proof that opposition to war with Iran transcends partisan politics. With this effort, Americans can come together around the idea that we must stop a war with Iran. Many thanks to HFAC Chairman Engel for his leadership.”


The amendment was sponsored by: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA-9), Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD-4), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-8), Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI-9), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT-4), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-6), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-3), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-5), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-7), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM-1).