Senators have introduced a bipartisan resolution underscoring that President Donald Trump does not have congressional authorization to pursue military action against Iran.
Announced Wednesday by Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., the resolution stresses that neither the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists nor the 2002 AUMF Against Iraq legally permits the use of military force against Iran.
"The American people do not want another endless war in the Middle East -- yet, what we've seen in recent days is a president willing to make significant military decisions bringing us closer to war without consulting Congress or recognizing that our Constitution gives war-making power to Congress, not the president," Merkley said in a statement.
The resolution states that the two AUMFs may not be interpreted as "a statutory authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic Republic of Iran."
The 2001 AUMF authorized the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against those responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 2002 AUMF authorized military conduct against Saddam Hussein's Iraq government.
Paul said Congress needs to stop using these AUMFs as an excuse for abdicating its constitutional responsibly of declaring war to the president.
"We can take a major step toward reasserting our voice by making it clear the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs do not authorize war with Iran," he said.
Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sponsored the resolution.
The resolution comes as tensions skyrocket between the United States and Iran following Trump directing the military to kill Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top military official. In retaliation, Iran fired at least a dozen missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. forces.
Merkley and Paul said they announced the resolution following a classified briefing concerning the operation to kill Soleimani.
"To say [the meeting] was frustrating is an understatement," Merkley said on Twitter. "They didn't present anything suggesting a comprehensive understanding of how the consequences of this decision could hurt all of our strategic interests in the region."
Merkley and Wyden also introduced on Wednesday the so-called anti-war crimes resolution condemning recent threats by Trump to target cultural sites in Iran.
"If Donald Trump follows through on his threat to bomb Persian cultural sites it would be an abomination on the level of what the Taliban did to Buddhist relics in Afghanistan," Wyden said in a statement. "Congress cannot let Trump commit war crimes that further endanger Americans at home and abroad."