On Wednesday, the House voted on two amendments to the defense authorization bill that would have restricted the ability of the Bush Administration to launch an attack on Iran.
An amendment introduced by Reps. DeFazio, Paul, Hinchey, and Lee would have explicitly blocked military action against Iran without Congressional authorization. I say "explicitly" because under the Constitution, of course, Congress has the sole power to declare war.
But as the amendment authors have noted, Bush Administration officials have tried to claim that the Bush Administration has the authority to attack Iran without Congressional authorization.
The amendment failed 136-288, with 100 Democrats voting no. The roll call is here.
A narrower amendment offered by Rep. Andrews would have prevented funds authorized in the bill for the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan from being obligated or expended to plan a contingency operation in Iran. This amendment also failed, but the vote was much closer: 202-216, with 29 Democrats voting no. The roll call is here.
These amendments, which merely reaffirm the warmaking powers of the Congress under the U.S. Constitution, would have passed if most Democrats voted yes. So who were the Democrats who voted no?
Let's start with the Andrews amendment, on the theory that the narrower amendment gives you a sharper read on who the problem kids are.
Democrats voting no on the Andrews amendment were: Ackerman, Altmire, Barrow, Bean, Berkley, Bishop (GA), Boren, Boyd (FL), Carney, Cramer, Cuellar, Donnelly, Herseth Sandlin, Holden, Klein (FL), Lampson, Mahoney (FL), Marshall, Melancon, Mitchell, Murtha, Rothman, Salazar, Schwartz, Scott (GA), Sherman, Shuler, Space, Tanner.
Murtha?! What's that about? It was Murtha who originally proposed putting a prohibition against an unauthorized attack on Iran in the supplemental. Murtha co-sponsored DeFazio's bill, and a similar one offered by Representative Jones. Why did Murtha vote no?
Democrats voting no on the DeFazio amendment were: Ackerman, Altmire, Andrews, Baca, Barrow, Bean, Berkley, Berman, Bishop (GA), Bordallo, Boren, Boyd (FL), Boyda (KS), Brown (Corrine), Cardoza, Carney, Castor, Cohen, Cooper, Costa, Cramer, Crowley, Cuellar, Davis (AL), Davis (CA), Davis (Lincoln), DeLauro, Dicks, Donnelly, Edwards, Ellsworth, Emanuel, Etheridge, Giffords, Gordon, Harman, Hastings (FL), Herseth Sandlin, Higgins, Hill, Hinojosa, Hodes, Holden, Hoyer, Israel, Jefferson, Kanjorski, Klein (FL), Lampson, Lantos, Larsen (WA), Levin, Lipinski, Lowey, Mahoney (FL), Marshall, Matheson, McCarthy (NY), McIntyre, Meek (FL), Melancon, Miller (NC), Mitchell, Mollohan, Moore (KS), Murphy (Patrick), Murtha, Ortiz, Perlmutter, Pomeroy, Reyes, Rodriguez, Ross, Ruppersberger, Salazar, Sanchez (Loretta), Sarbanes, Schiff, Scott (GA), Sestak, Shea-Porter, Sherman, Shuler, Skelton, Smith (WA), Snyder, Space, Spratt, Tanner, Tauscher, Taylor, Towns, Udall (CO), Van Hollen, Walz (MN), Wasserman Schultz, Waxman, Weiner, Wexler, Wilson (OH).
Murtha also voted against the DeFazio amendment. As I noted last week, Barrow, Berkley, Berman, Cooper, Costa, Hoyer, Lipinski, Ruppersberger, Scott, and Udall voted against the McGovern bill to withdraw from Iraq even though they represent districts that voted for Kerry in 2004.
Jefferson is a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus and co-sponsored a bill against attacking Iran offered by Representative Lee. Andrews and Brown (Out of Iraq Caucus) voted against the DeFazio amendment even though they co-sponsored DeFazio's bill. Towns (Out of Iraq Caucus) voted no although he co-sponsored a similar bill offered by Representative Jones. That information is recorded here.
Tauscher has been targeted by Working for Us for not supporting a Democratic agenda, as The Nation has reported. (Cuellar is also mentioned in this article.)
Thank and spank, praise and punish, as they say. MoveOn is running radio ads expressing disappointment with Hoyer and Senator Levin for undermining Democratic efforts to end the Iraq war. Send your Representative a note to let him or her know what you think about their votes.
Robert Naiman is Senior Policy Analyst and National Coordinator at Just Foreign Policy.