WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, today called on his Senate colleagues to support a war powers resolution, introduced by Durbin and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) last month, to force a debate and vote in Congress to prevent a war with Iran without congressional approval. In January, the House passed a similar war powers resolution 224 to 194, and the Senate will vote on the resolution tomorrow.
“I think the framers of our Constitution understood full well that if we’re going to ask American families to potentially sacrifice the lives of their sons and daughters in combat and in war, they should have a voice on the decision of going to war, and that’s what this article in the Constitution provides – a voice for the United States public when it comes to their Congress as to whether or not we’re going to engage in a war,” Durbin said. “Otherwise, we find ourselves in a situation like today, 18 years after an authorization of the use of military force – and part of it under false pretenses – continuing a military effort that was never truly authorized. I support Senator Kaine in this effort. I’m glad it’s a bipartisan resolution.”
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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 co-sponsor 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.