Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Ro Khanna (D-CA), along with 16 other lawmakers, introduced Tuesday an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent military force against Iran without congressional authorization.
Amidst rising tension with Iran and calls from neoconservatives to militarily intervene in the Middle Eastern country, Gaetz and Khanna introduced an amendment to the NDAA that would block the government from using federal funds for any military action against Iran without congressional authorization.
Gaetz said in a statement Tuesday:
This amendment affirms what President Trump knows and believes: unfocused, unconstitutional, unending wars in the Middle East make America weaker, not stronger. The United States must be strong in its approach to Iran, and I applaud President Trump for acknowledging that strength can be demonstrated through mindful restraint. Iran must be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon and threatening international peace, but Congress must resolve to ensure that any military action is carried out Constitutionally.
Rep. Gaetz has called for caution amidst calls for intervention in Iran, believing that America should secure its borders before starting another war abroad.
The Florida congressman wrote, “Japanese and Norwegian vessels were attacked. If these nations aren’t calling for war, neither should the U.S. We can’t afford another
Rep. Gaetz wrote that President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy means that the country must protect its borders from illegal immigration and cartel violence before it attacks foreign nations.
Gaetz added, “’America First’ means protecting our border from the ‘Gulf Cartel’ before avenging foreign vessels in the Gulf of Oman.”
Congressman Khanna has also called for a bipartisan coalition on ending America’s foreign wars. The California Democrat has also backed Trump’s call to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria, as well as to end America’s support for Saudia Arabia’s war in Yemen.
The lawmakers’ amendment would specifically clarify that the government can use neither the 2001 nor the 2002 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. The House Rules Committee will have Gaetz and Khanna’s amendment in order and then it would be considered on the House floor during the NDAA debate in July.
Gaetz and Khanna’s amendment arises as Reps. Khanna, Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Ken Buck (R-CO) formed the bipartisan War Powers Caucus, dedicated to restoring Congress’s constitutional authority over declaring war.
Congressman Khanna said in a press release Tuesday:
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. 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.
The cosponsors of the amendment include: Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Andy Levin (D-MI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jim Himes (D-CT), Lee, Jason Crow (D-CO), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), John Garamendi (D-CA), Biggs, Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Deb Haaland (D-NM).
Read Gaetz and Khanna’s amendment here.