U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced a resolution Sunday to block the use of U.S. military force against Iran without congressional authorization, and is one of many lawmakers calling for more consultation with Congress on the precarious situation.
Many members of Congress condemned President Donald Trump’s decision last week to order an airstrike without notifying them first. The strike killed top Iranian military leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani — escalating tensions with the country, which has promised revenge for his death.
“Let’s not mince words: the assassination of Qasem Soleimani was an act of war undertaken without Congressional authorization, in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America … We in Congress must exercise our Constitutional duty — and do everything in our power to stop another disastrous war,” Omar said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said Sunday that she supports a resolution to curtail Trump’s military action in Iran and said the House would vote on a measure this week.
The resolution Omar co-sponsored with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., is identical to one from Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, said Omar’s spokesman Jeremy Slevin.
Slevin said they are waiting to see how their resolution differs from the specifics in the proposal Pelosi announced, which will be led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. Slotkin’s measure will be similar to Kaine’s, Pelosi stated in a letter to Democrats Sunday.
The resolutions from Kaine, Omar and Lee highlight that Congress alone can declare war. They state that Trump must remove armed forces from hostilities against Iran within 30 days unless there is a declaration of war or Congress authorizes him to use force. They do not prevent the U.S. from defending itself against an attack.
Omar’s proposal came a day after Trump wrote on Twitter that if Iran retaliates for the killing of Soleimani, the U.S. has targeted 52 locations, including Iranian cultural sites, that it will hit “very fast and very hard.”
Omar responded to Trump’s message in a tweet stating, “The President of the United States is threatening to commit war crimes on Twitter. God help us all!”
She and other Democrats have decried the president’s actions on Iran in recent days.
Republican lawmakers have responded, standing up for Trump’s decision. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted at Omar saying that according to former President Barack Obama’s Department of Defense, “Qasem Soleimani was a terrorist directly responsible for the murder of over 500 US service men & women. Why are congressional Dems outraged that he’s finally dead.”
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, castigated Omar on Fox News. He said she is outraged about the U.S. assassinating “a designated terrorist” but has referred to the Sept. 11 attacks as “some people did something.” Republicans have widely rebuked that phrasing, which Omar used in a speech last year.