In a rare display of bipartisan support, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) issued a statement on Saturday urging the Senate to vote for the No War Against Iran Act, which would require the president to obtain authorization from Congress before engaging in war with Iran. Sen. Lee recently decided to co-sponsor Sanders’ legislation after partnering with him last year on the War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
In retaliation to attacks against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike against Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani near the Baghdad International Airport on January 3. Hours later, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Ca.) announced introducing legislation that would allow Congress to block funding any military action against Iran without congressional approval.
After Sen. Lee decided to co-sponsor the bill, Lee and Sanders issued a joint statement on Saturday. They wrote: “As United States Senators, we often disagree on many issues. But standing up for the Constitution is not about partisanship. The Founding Fathers were absolutely clear. They wanted to ensure that our country avoided needless conflict and they understood that presidential war-making would be harmful to our democracy.
“That is why Article I of the Constitution vests Congress—and only Congress—with the power to declare war and to direct government spending. The American people’s elected representatives have a duty to publicly debate and vote on military action before we send our brave service members into harm’s way or spend a penny on military hostilities.
“Our bill—the No War Against Iran Act—utilizes Congress’s power of the purse to block any funds from going to an unauthorized war with Iran. As our country faces the possibility of another devastating conflict in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions of dollars, the Senate must vote on our legislation without delay.
“We are proud to have worked together in a bipartisan way to help end the disastrous, unauthorized U.S. war in Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of innocent people over the past five years. Last year, for the first time in American history, the House and Senate passed our War Powers Resolution to end that horrific conflict. We are committed to doing everything in our power to work together once again and build bipartisan majorities in order to prevent an unconstitutional war with Iran.”
On Saturday, Sanders took to Twitter and wrote, “In January of 1991, one of the first votes I cast in Congress was against the war in Iraq.
“A decade after that first war in Iraq, I voted against yet another war in the same country.
“That was the right vote.
“We must end our endless wars.”