Merkley, Paul Lead Bipartisan Resolution Making Crystal Clear that Congress Has Not Authorized Military Action Against Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) today announced a bipartisan resolution to underscore that the President does not have Congressional authorization for military action against Iran under current law. Specifically, the resolution clarifies that neither the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force passed following the September 11 attacks nor the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq legally justify the use of military force against Iran.

The Senators’ resolution comes after days of escalating tensions between the United States and Iran that have put American service members at risk and created significant setbacks to the United States’ goals in the region: decreasing Iranian influence in Iraq, protecting American lives and assets in the Middle East, and restricting the Iranian nuclear program.

“The American people do not want another endless war in the Middle East—yet what we’ve seen in recent days is a president willing to make significant military decisions bringing us closer to war without consulting Congress or recognizing that our Constitution gives war making power to Congress, not the President,” said Merkley. “It’s time for the Senate to send a clear message: The cost of sending our sons and daughters into danger is too great for any one president to make a singlehanded decision to send our nation into war.”

“It is time for Congress to stop using previous AUMFs as an excuse to continue abdicating its constitutional responsibility on war. We can take a major step toward reasserting our voice by making it clear the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs do not authorize war with Iran,” said Paul.

The Senators announced the resolution shortly after receiving a classified briefing from top Administration officials. 

The resolution is Senator Merkley’s most recent action in his longstanding commitment to avoiding endless wars. Previously, Merkley introduced the Constitutional Consideration for Use of Force Act, legislation to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs and prevent any new terrorism AUMF from being used to remain in an endless cycle of armed conflict or to circumvent the Constitution.

In addition to Senators Merkley and Paul, the resolution is sponsored by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The full text of today’s resolution is available here.