Speech ● Foreign Affairs
For Immediate Release: 
January 30, 2020
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s amendment to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and Congressman Ro Khanna’s amendment to prohibit funding for military action against Iran without Congressional authorization.  Both amendments passed this afternoon. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Madam Speaker, I want to thank Rep. Lee and Rep. Khanna for their continued efforts to prevent American forces from being sent into combat without Congressional authorization. Americans have now experienced a generation of war abroad to prevent terror at home. In Afghanistan and Iraq, our troops have fought courageously. Their families have sacrificed. Their friends and neighbors have waited anxiously for news of their safe return home. Many, tragically, did not return. We hold them in our hearts today as we engage in this critical debate about the nature of Congress’s role in making consequential decisions of war and peace.
“The House voted on Rep. Lee and Rep. Khanna’s amendments last year during debate on the National Defense Authorization Act. Both were approved with bipartisan support. Rep. Lee’s amendment passed on a vote of 241-180, with fourteen of our Republican colleagues joining with Democrats. For Rep. Khanna’s amendment, the tally was 251-170, with twenty-seven Republicans. That is a testament to the very strong public sentiment that sending America’s young men and women to war must not be the decision of their Commander-in-Chief alone. It must be the product of deliberation and consensus by the Representatives of the American people themselves – the Congress.
“That is why our Founders enshrined in the Constitution that only Congress can declare war. It is why we have had the War Powers Act since 1973. It is why we are having this debate on the Floor now.
“I strongly support both Rep. Lee and Rep. Khanna’s bills. The former would repeal the 2002 Authorization for the use of Military Force in Iraq, which was meant to enable the removal of Saddam Hussein, but is now being used to justify destabilizing military action against Iran. The latter would prohibit the Trump Administration from using federal funds without Congressional authorization to strike Iran in the absence of an imminent threat.Let me make this point clear: nowhere in these bills do we take funding away from the military or say that our forces cannot defend themselves. We include clear language to ensure that if an imminent threat presents itself, our forces can strike first.
“I’m proud that so many Democratic Members of this House are veterans who know what it means to serve in harm’s way. Many of our freshmen served in the military during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and are working hard to make sure that our Democratic House Majority always keeps faith with those in uniform and our veterans. They have been instrumental in helping to shape our policies in a way that is smart and strategic and strengthens our national security. Let me also say that Iran remains a dangerous enemy of freedom and a sponsor of terror against America, Israel, and our other allies.
“While no one is mourning Qasem Soleimani, many Americans on both sides of the aisle have been alarmed by President Trump’s rush to action, characterized by haphazard decision making and lack of overall Iran strategy. That is why Congress needs to take action now to make it clear that this President does not have the unilateral authority to take America into another costly war in the Middle East.
“We passed a war powers resolution on a bipartisan basis earlier this month to make this point clear, and I hope we will have similarly bipartisan votes today on these amendments. I want to thank Rep. Lee and Rep. Khanna, as well as the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for working closely with me and with Chairman Smith and others to ensure broad support for these amendments. I urge colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in voting for them.”