Durbin: Only Congress Has The Power To Declare War With Iran

Durbin Calls On Colleagues To Support War Powers Resolution That Would Prohibit War With Iran Without Congressional Authorization, Introduced With Senator Kaine Last Week

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, today slammed President Donald Trump’s erratic and incoherent policies regarding Iran that might plunge the United States into yet another endless war in the Middle East.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin also urged his colleagues to support a war powers resolution, introduced by Durbin and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) last week, to force a debate and vote in Congress to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran without congressional approval. 

“What Senator Kaine and I are doing now is to appeal to our colleagues on both sides of the aisle – do not walk away from our responsibility when it comes to the future decision of whether we go to war with Iran.  Stand up for those American families who sent us here to do our constitutional duty,” Durbin said.  “Don’t point to the President as if it is his responsibility – it is our responsibility.  That is what this Constitution says.  And now with that responsibility, we need to stand up and act.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

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.

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.

Full text of the Kaine-Durbin war powers resolution is available here