Congressman Andy Levin Statement on U.S.-Iran Tensions

January 8, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Andy Levin, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released the following statement:

“Yesterday, as soon as I arrived back in Washington, I read the President’s classified notification to Congress about the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani. I listened to the President’s address to the nation this morning, and I attended a classified briefing by Secretary Pompeo and others this afternoon.

“First, I must say that I have been praying for the U.S. soldiers and personnel in Iraq, as well as the Iraqi people who were in harm’s way during yesterday’s missile attacks. I am so relieved that no lives were lost.

“Despite all the information made available to me as a Member of Congress, I remain entirely unconvinced that an imminent threat necessitated the killing of Qasem Soleimani, which precipitated the attacks that put Americans in harm’s way. The President owes it to the American people to explain what known, imminent threat made such a perilous course of action necessary.

“After last night’s attack, I was appalled that the President’s first communication was a tweet leading with “All is well!” The frivolity with which the President talks about American lives, especially when the aftermath of the attack was still largely unknown, shows a profoundly dangerous lack of understanding of the gravity of his actions.

“Today’s address did nothing to ease my concerns. The President promised to ramp up the so-called ‘maximum pressure’ campaign that has proven counterproductive to easing tensions thus far. He continues to perpetuate the lie that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) led us to this point. In fact, the opposite is true: the President’s unnecessary, politically-motivated withdrawal from the deal was the impetus for the escalation that has led us to the brink of war, and brought Iran that much closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“It is now more important than ever for Congress to step in. Tomorrow, the House will vote on a War Powers Resolution. We must also vote to repeal the 2002 war authorization that this administration appears primed to misuse, block funding for an unauthorized war with Iran, and reaffirm that the President must receive an explicit authorization from Congress before engaging in military action against Iran—which would be accomplished by my bipartisan AUMF Clarification Act.

“We cannot let this President drag our nation into another endless war. Now is the time to fulfill our duty under the Constitution and prevent a war that will cost billions of taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, American lives.”