Washington, DC – This afternoon, the House of Representatives approved by voice vote an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Barbara Lee (D-CA) aimed at highlighting the potential consequences of a war with Iran.
The amendment requires that the Director of National Intelligence submit a report containing an assessment of the consequences of a military strike on Iran to congressional intelligence committees within 60 days of the intelligence bill’s passage.
In the words of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who spoke in support of the amendment on the House floor, the measure “will help slow down the rush towards war” with Iran by ensuring that the “broad impact[s] of a potential attack” are considered.
The addition of the Conyers-Ellison-Lee amendment to the intelligence bill demonstrates a push back from some members of Congress against pro-war voices, who have been vocal in recent weeks in decrying Iran’s enrichment of uranium as potentially requiring military action. While hawkish voices still dominate, a bipartisan amendment was similarly offered two weeks ago by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and added to the National Defense Authorization Act explicitly stating the bill in no way authorized the use of force against Iran. On the other hand, an amendment to the defense bill by Rep. Barbara Lee failed, which would’ve supported the use of more robust diplomatic measures to resolve the nuclear impasse.
Before the vote on the Intelligence Authorization, Rep. Conyers explained that the intention of the amendment was to ensure that the costs of a military strike on Iran, a possibility which is “openly [being] discussed as a policy option of last resort”, would first be thoroughly analyzed.
Conyers said that it is “critical that the expertise of our intelligence community be added” to the discussion in the event that our nation is forced to grapple with the prospect of war. Before the vote, Rep. Conyers pointed out the strong opposition to a military strike voiced by United States and Israeli military and intelligence officials in recent months.
While not opposing the amendment, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-MI), voiced concern that the amendment doesn’t account for the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran. He expressed his view of the importance of keeping military options on the table, and defended potential military intervention by reiterating the danger posed to Israel by an “arms race in the Middle East.”
The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 subsequently passed the House and awaits further action in the Senate.