The House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan amendment barring President Donald Trump from launching an unauthorized war with Iran, a move progressives applauded as a necessary step toward pulling the U.S. back from the brink of another catastrophic Middle East conflict.
"This is the only way to stop Trump from starting another costly war," tweeted Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who sponsored the amendment alongside Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
"Constitutional rights aren't optional," added Khanna, "and endless war isn't inevitable."
The final vote on the amendment, which will be added to the House's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), was 251-170.
Jamal Abdi, president of National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Action, said the strong bipartisan vote shows that an alternative to the belligerence of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton "has clearly emerged."
"Both the president and his secretary of state have intimated that they do not need congressional approval to launch a war, with many members of Congress alarmed by the administration's transparent attempts to justify a war with Iran under the 2001 authorization to use military force," Abdi said in a statement. "The Iranian-American community and the broader American public know that war with Iran would be a disaster."
The passage of this amendment marks a crucial step forward in our #NoWarWithIran efforts. Thank you @RoKhanna and @mattgaetz for your leadership in advancing peace and diplomacy.https://t.co/ZafXw4dWjJ
— NIAC Action (@NIACAction) July 12, 2019
The House vote comes just weeks after the Republican-controlled Senate narrowly defeated an amendment that would have barred Trump from attacking Iran without congressional approval.
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In a joint statement on Friday, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups led by Win Without War and CREDO Action said, "Congress must continue using every available tool at its disposal to ensure that Donald Trump and John Bolton's march to war is fully blocked."
"A strong majority of Americans—whom Congress is most directly accountable to—do not want another costly and disastrous war in the Middle East," the groups said, "and would rather the U.S. return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal."
The House on Friday also passed Rep. Barbara Lee's (D-Calif.) amendment to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which permitted the Bush administration to invade Iraq.
"Congress took a historic step today to stop our endless wars," Lee said. "Congress has the constitutional duty to declare war and authorize the use of force, and part of that is the responsibility to remove this unnecessary and outdated authorization. I'm glad Congress took this step to help restore our constitutional obligation to do our job when it comes to matters of authorizing war. It is far past time we remove this unnecessary and outdated authorization."
Diane Randall, executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), applauded the passage of the two amendments in a statement.
"This landmark pair of victories," Randall said, "signals a turning-point in the congressional tide away from war and toward the path of peace."