June 20, 2019

Pro-Diplomacy Organizations Call for Vote on Udall Amendment to Prevent an Unauthorized War with Iran


Americans for Peace Now, Arms Control Association, Council for a Livable World, Foreign Policy for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Indivisible, J Street, MoveOn, NIAC Action, Ploughshares Fund, VoteVets and Win Without War issued the following statement:
As pro-diplomacy organizations that oppose unauthorized war with Iran, we call on Senators to support the bipartisan Udall-Kaine amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and make clear that they will vote against cloture to proceed to final passage of the NDAA unless and until the amendment is put to a vote. 
Yesterday, President Trump falsely asserted that he has the authority to initiate military action against Iran without first going to Congress. Last week, he nearly ordered unauthorized strikes on Iran that could have led to a major war. After this close call, we are more convinced than ever that the Senate must vote on the Udall-Kaine amendment to the NDAA.
Having violated and abandoned the agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear activities and engaged in a series of escalations with Iran, the Trump Administration is now poised to subvert Congress’ constitutional prerogative to decide when the United States will and will not go to war. While Iranian misbehavior has increased in recent weeks, the Trump Administration’s provocations and saber rattling have made conflict, not negotiations, more likely. 
The question of whether American forces should be put in harm’s way to strike a country nearly four times the size of Iraq and with more than twice the population is one of the utmost gravity. It must not – and constitutionally cannot – be left to any administration alone, especially one that has acted with gross recklessness and profoundly weakened key alliances and multilateral partnerships essential to addressing threats from Iran. Any unilateral escalation risks both further alienation and getting mired in another disastrous war in the Middle East. 
We therefore urge Senators to support and further insist that the bipartisan Udall-Kaine amendment – which would prohibit appropriated funds from being used for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress – receive a vote in the Senate’s present consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act. Senators should make clear that they will vote against cloture to proceed to final passage of the NDAA unless and until the Udall-Kaine amendment is put to a vote. 
A no vote on cloture in no way impacts pay or other support for our military personnel. Rather, launching an unnecessary and unauthorized war would do a disservice to our troops and all Americans. 
The Trump Administration’s current Iran policy has proven a disaster. If the Senate fails to consider the Udall-Kaine amendment while legislating on defense authorization, at the very moment the administration is barrelling toward an unauthorized and costly war of choice, it would be an historic abdication of constitutional responsibility.
Note: This letter was updated on 6/25 to include a recommendation to vote against proceeding to cloture
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