Reps. Levin, Massie Introduce Bill to Make Clear that Congress Has Not Authorized Attack on Iran

May 17, 2019
Press Release
The bipartisan AUMF Clarification Act affirms that the Trump Administration does not have an authorization to use military force against Iran.

Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) and Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-04) today introduced the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Clarification Act, a bill to reaffirm that the Trump Administration would have to receive an explicit authorization from Congress before engaging in military action against Iran.

“Only Congress has the Constitutional authority to declare war, and the Trump Administration has to respect that,” Congressman Levin said. “The bipartisan AUMF Clarification Act will ensure there is zero ambiguity about the fact that Congress has not authorized the use of military force against Iran. In light of this Administration’s ever-escalating rhetoric, it’s clear we need to pass this bill to prevent a reckless and costly war that the American people don’t want.”

“Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution clearly gives Congress the sole power to declare war,” Congressman Massie said. “Our Founding Fathers believed that Congress—not the President—should possess this power, and that giving such authority to the executive branch presents a direct threat to liberty. As the AUMF Clarification Act states, Congress has never authorized military force against Iran, and any such action would be illegal and unconstitutional without an up-or-down vote.”

The AUMF Clarification Act expresses the Sense of Congress that the neither the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force passed after 9/11, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, nor any other existing law gives the legal authority to use force against Iran, and clarifies that none of these laws may be construed to provide that authority. 

Congressman Levin earlier this month sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concerns about the Secretary’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during which Secretary Pompeo failed to state unequivocally that the Administration will not use military force against Iran without Congressional authorization.