[Senate Document 116-15]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



 
116th Congress, 2d Session - - - - - - - - - - - - - Senate Document 116-15

                           VETO--S.J RES. 68

                                (PM 54)

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                 FROM

                     THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                               RETURNING

  WITHOUT MY APPROVAL S.J. RES. 68, A JOINT RESOLUTION TO DIRECT THE 
   REMOVAL OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FROM HOSTILITIES AGAINSTTHE 
   ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN THAT HAVE NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS




              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
              
              
              
                 MAY 6, 2020.--Ordered to be printed          
              
                              __________


               U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
               
40-437               WASHINGTON : 2020





                  May 6, 2020.--Ordered to be printed
To the Senate of the United States:
    I am returning herewith without my approval S.J. Res. 68, a 
joint resolution that purports to direct the President to 
terminate the use of United States Armed Forces in hostilities 
against Iran. This indefinite prohibition is unnecessary and 
dangerous. It would weaken the President's authority in 
violation of Article II of the Constitution, and endanger the 
lives of American citizens and brave service members.
    This joint resolution is unnecessary because it rests upon 
a faulty premise. Due to my decisive actions and effective 
policies, the United States is not engaged in the use of force 
against Iran.As Commander in Chief, I will always defend our 
Nation against threats to our security.
    In response to an escalating series of attacks by Iran and 
Iranian-backed militias on United States forces and interests 
in the Middle East, on January 2, 2020, United States Armed 
Forces eliminated Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Islamic 
Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force as he was traveling in 
Iraq.The purposes of this strike were to protect United States 
personnel, deter Iran from conducting or supporting further 
attacks against United States forces and interests, degrade the 
ability of Iran arid Qods Force-backed militias to conduct 
attacks, and end Iran's strategic escalation of attacks against 
and threats to United States interests.
    On January 7, 2020, Iran launched 16 ballistic missiles 
against United States and coalition forces in Iraq, These 
attacks resulted in no fatalities. The next day, in an address 
to the Nation, I noted that ``Iran appears to be standing 
down'' and emphasized that ``the United States is ready to 
embrace peace with all who seek it.''
    One day later, this resolution was introduced. Its apparent 
aim was to prevent an escalation in hostilities between the 
United States and Iran. Yet no such escalation has occurred 
over the past 4 months, contrary to the often dire and 
confident predictions of many.
    S.J. Res. 68 is also unnecessary because it incorrectly 
implies that the military airstrike against Qassem Soleimani in 
Iraq was conducted without statutory authority.The resolution 
states that ``the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force 
(Public Law 107-40; 50 U,S.C. 1541 note) against the 
perpetrators of the 9/11 attack and the Authorization for Use 
of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 
107-243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 notes) do not serve as a specific 
statutory authorization for use of force against Iran.'' The 
strike against Soleimani, however, was fully authorized under 
both the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq 
Resolution of 2002 (``2002 AUMF'') and the President's 
constitutional authorities as commander in Chief and Chief 
Executive.
    The United States has long relied upon the 2002 AUMF to 
authorize the use of force for the purpose of establishing a 
stable, democratic Iraq and for addressing terrorist threats 
emanating from Iraq. Such uses of force need not address only 
threats from the Iraqi Government apparatus, but may also 
address threats to the United States posed by militias, 
terrorist groups, or other armed groups in Iraq. This has been 
a consistent application of the statute across Administrations, 
including the last Administration, which relied upon it to 
conduct operations in response to attacks and threats by Iran-
backed militias in Iraq.Moreover, under Article II, the 
President is empowered to direct the use of military force to 
protect the Nation from an attack or threat of imminent attack 
and to protect important national interests.
    In addition, S.J. Res. 68 is dangerous because it could 
hinder the President's ability to protect United States forces, 
allies, and partners, including Israel, from the continued 
threat posed by Iran and Iranian-backed militias. The 
resolution states that it should not ``be construed to prevent 
the united States from defending itself from imminent attack.'' 
But this overlooks the President's need to respond to threats 
beyond imminent attacks on the United States and its forces.
    Protecting the national security of the United States 
involves taking actions to de-escalate threats around the 
world, including threats posed by Iran and Iranian-backed 
militias. Iran and Iranian-backed militias have a long history 
of attacking United States and coalition forces.As demonstrated 
by the recent indirect fire attacks on January 26, 2020, on the 
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and on March 11 and 14, 2020, on Camp 
Taji, Iraq, Iran and Iranian-backed militias continue to 
present a threat. This resolution would impede the President's 
ability to counter adversarial forces by anticipating their 
next moves and taking swift actions to address them decisively.
    For all of these reasons, I cannot support this joint 
resolution. My Administration has taken strong actions, within 
statutory authority, to help keep our Nation safe, and I will 
not approve this resolution, which would undermine my ability 
to protect American citizens, service members, and interests. 
Therefore, it is my duty to return S.J. Res. 68 to the Senate 
without my approval.

                                                   Doland J. Trump.
    The White House, May 6, 2020.