Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor urged his Senate colleagues to vote in favor of Senator Kaine’s War Powers Resolution on Iran, which would reaffirm Congress’ role in matters of war and peace. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Later today, the Senate will begin debate on Senator Kaine’s War Powers Resolution, preventing President Trump from unilaterally escalating military action against Iran. The Constitution is clear. Congress alone has the power to declare wars. The President has no authority to enter the United States into another endless conflict in the Middle East. But I fear that the strike against Iranian Major General Soleimani last month may bumble us into one.
With this bipartisan resolution, the Senate can assert its Constitutional authority and send a clear, bipartisan message to the President that he cannot sidestep Congress when it comes to matters of war and peace.
It was immediately clear that the strike against General Soleimani was carried out with insufficient transparency, without proper notification of Congress, and without a clear plan for what comes next. The last month has only magnified these problems. President Trump initially claimed that nobody was hurt after Iran retaliated against US forces on January 8th. Now, the Pentagon says over 100 military personnel suffered a traumatic brain injury. Why has it taken so long for us to learn that American troops were hurt in the attack? Who ordered the withholding of that information? Was it President Trump? Sure wouldn’t be surprising. And who in the military—the military, which is a bulwark, one of the few, particularly when General Mattis was secretary—who in the military let that happen? Just as importantly, what is the President’s strategy for keeping our troops safe in the coming months?
The administration has deliberately refused to be transparent with Congress about the aftermath of the Iranian strike. I fear that by keeping Congress in the dark, President Trump is once again hoping to short-circuit our checks and balances and escape scrutiny.
That is why Senator Kaine’s War Powers Resolution is a matter of urgent necessity. I commend Senator Kaine on the job he has done, and I urge all of my colleagues of both parties to vote in favor of this resolution.