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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Langevin Votes to Prevent War with Iran

House passes resolution to curb Trump’s power to make war on his own

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairman of its Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities (IETC), voted in favor of H. Con. Res. 83, which limits President Trump’s military actions regarding Iran pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution. 

Earlier in the day, the Congressman spoke on the House floor in favor of the resolution, which was offered by IETC member Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and after the vote, he issued the following statement:

“The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that Congress, and only Congress, has the power to declare war. I voted today to assert that power and ensure the United States does not find itself embroiled in another costly conflict in the Middle East without there first being an open debate among, and vote by, the people’s representatives.


“As I have said before, I do not mourn the death of Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was a terrorist with the blood of thousands on his hands. But when Presidents Bush and Obama had the opportunity to remove him from the battlefield, they decided not to do so because they did not believe it was in the service of our broader Iran strategy. 

"After a briefing from the Administration yesterday that was panned by Republicans and Democrats alike, I remain unconvinced that the strike last week will actually make America more secure. The President must make all the intelligence he used to make his decision available to Congress immediately so that we may conduct our necessary oversight.

“Targeting Soleimani was one of many risky foreign policy decisions that the President has made, and it has already drawn a violent response from Iran. I am thankful that the recent Iranian missile strikes in Iraq did not result in any casualties for the U.S. and our allies. 

"However, the attack was just a glimpse of the devastating violence that could result from a spiraling conflict in the Middle East. American interests are not served when we lurch from crisis to crisis, and American lives are put in danger when we act without an understanding of the potential consequences. The President seems to believe that a series of disparate tactical actions will result in a strategic victory. 

"He is wrong. 

"If we are to rein in Iranian influence and aggression, and most importantly keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon -- an outcome that would be incredibly destabilizing to the Middle East and a huge blow to our national security -- we need a strategy to do so. I have yet to see one from this President, even as the stakes continue to climb.

“I hope that cooler heads prevail in Iran and that we can de-escalate the situation. I hope that the President’s risk-taking does not lead to American and allied deaths. But hope is not a strategy. We must be vigilant and prepared for further Iranian attacks, particularly through asymmetric means and in domains like cyberspace. And Congress must continue to exercise its Constitutional duty to protect our national security.”