Durbin, Kaine File War Powers Resolution To Require Congressional Authorization For War With Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), introduced a war powers resolution to force a debate and vote in Congress to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran.

“The Senate must not let this President march into another war in the Middle East without authorization from Congress,” Durbin said.  “The Constitution is clear – only the Congress can declare war.  And whether it does or not, we must ask critical questions of what led us to this point and where we are headed, and be a reliable source of support for the men and women who bear the burden of battle.”           

War powers resolutions are privileged, meaning that the Senate will be forced to vote on the legislation. The resolution underscores that Congress has the sole power to declare war, as laid out in the Constitution. The resolution requires that any hostilities with Iran must be explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force, but does not prevent the United States from defending itself from imminent attack. The resolution will force a public debate and vote in Congress as intended by the framers of the Constitution to determine whether United States forces should be engaged in these hostilities.

Full text of the resolution is available here. 

In June, Durbin voted for a bipartisan measure to prohibit funds from being used for military operations against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.  He was also a cosponsor of this measure.

In 2015, Durbin led the effort in the Senate that ultimately allowed the Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to proceed, securing enough votes to block an effort to derail it.