Saying the situation in the Persian Gulf had now reached "a boiling point," Sen. Tim Kaine introduced a War Powers resolution on Friday in an effort to stop the Trump administration from waging war on Iran.
I just filed a resolution to prevent Trump from starting a war with Iran. The President wants to pretend that Congress doesn't exist, but it's our clear Constitutional duty to debate and vote before allowing him to rush into an unnecessary war.— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) January 3, 2020
"For years, I've been deeply concerned about President [Donald] Trump stumbling into a war with Iran," said Kaine (D-Va.). "We're now at a boiling point, and Congress must step in before Trump puts even more of our troops in harm's way. We owe it to our servicemembers to have a debate and vote about whether or not it's in our national interest to engage in another unnecessary war in the Middle East."
The Senate is obligated to vote on the legislation, as War Powers resolutions are privileged.
The measure, which has Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) as a co-sponsor, says that the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) provide no authorization for waging war against Iran and calls for the president to remove troops from engaging in hostilities against Iran within 30 days "unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force."
"I feel it is very foolish for the us to be involved in another war in the the Middle East," Kaine told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Friday afternoon. "But however you think about that question—Should we be at war?—I do know this. We should not go to a war with Iran based on a presidential decision with no consultation of Congress."
"We should not be committing our troops to war unless Congress has the guts to debate and vote that it's in the national interest," he added.
FCNL, the Quaker lobby, praised Kaine's call earlier Friday for restraint. "Congress cannot be a bystander," the group tweeted Friday. "The #EndlessWars must stop!"
In a later tweet, the faith-based group echoed Kaine's call for congressional action.
"War is not the answer; neither is assassination or mass killings of civilians," the group said. "We call on Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and stop the march to war."
Kaine's resolution was filed after the assassination Thursday night of Iran's top military leader, Qassem Soleimani, on orders from Trump. That killing sparked warnings from peace advocates and some Democratic lawmakers that the U.S. had set the stage for an all-out conflict with Iran.