[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 9 (Wednesday, January 15, 2020)]
[Pages H276-H281]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2019, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Tlaib) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to represent the 
Congressional Progressive Caucus where we have close to 100 members all 
across the country that are pushing forward our progressive values that 
I think are extremely important, especially in a district like mine, 
frontline communities and many communities of color that are suffering 
from issues around poverty, jobs, environment, education, 
disinvestment, and so forth. So I am very honored to be representing 
our caucus today with the Special Order.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from New Jersey (Mrs. Watson 
Coleman), who is my good colleague from New Jersey.
  Mrs. WATSON COLEMAN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman for 
  I rise in support of the resolutions presented by my friends from 
California, Congresswoman Lee and Congressman Khanna. They are long 
  The actions of this President over the last few weeks are an 
escalation of the reckless, arrogant, and ignorant foreign policy of 
this White House, if you can even call these hasty decisions a policy. 
The President's actions lack a coherent strategy. He lacks an 
understanding of history, and he lacks the foresight to see the 
consequences of his actions.
  Last week, the House and the Senate received briefings that failed to 
answer our questions about the basic facts behind the decision to kill 
Major General Qasem Soleimani. Republican Senators themselves said the 
briefing was so poorly presented that they left more opposed to the 
President's actions than before they were briefed.
  In other words, the more we learn about this debacle, the less faith 
anyone has in the White House's ability to make these decisions.
  Some of the questions asked by Members of Congress in that briefing 
went unanswered for so-called security reasons. Yet they were later 
addressed in interviews and press conferences by members of the 
administration as they tried to cover for the President's lies and 
  That is why I will join Democrats, and hopefully any Member of the 
House unwilling to watch us enter another endless war, in voting for 
these bills to limit the President's ability to engage in further 
aggression with Iran and keep American troops out of harm's way.
  The President has spent the days since his ill-advised attack 
blustering to reporters and on twitter, including threatening to attack 
cultural sites, a war crime of which the only outcome would be maiming 
and killing civilians.
  Just last week he ticked off a list of Iranian aggressions that he 
claimed were the result of the Iran deal. In fact, each event he cited 
occurred only after his foolish decision to pull out of the deal. These 
resolutions are critical to curtailing any further misguided action by 
President Trump.
  The fact is, this action that he has taken makes Americans less safe. 
It threatens our diplomats abroad with retribution, it threatens our 
military personnel in the region, and it threatens Americans working in 
the region.
  Many, many years ago, Senator George McGovern said: ``I am fed up to 
the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.'' Well, 
I am fed up too, and so are the American people.
  Reports suggest the President thought this move would be celebrated 
by Americans. But I speak for myself and the hundreds of constituents 
who have messaged me when I say: No more, Mr. Trump. We don't want this 
war. We don't want war with Iran. No continuing escalation, no more 
killings, and no more sending our daughters and sons into harm's way to 
appease the fragile egos of the men in the White House.
  I call on all my colleagues to support the resolutions of my 
colleagues, Ms. Lee and Mr. Khanna.
  And I send a clear message to the White House: Your days of reckless 
misadventures with the lives of Americans are over.

                              {time}  1730

  Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Rhode Island 
(Mr. Cicilline), my colleague and good friend.
  Mr. CICILLINE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for organizing 
this Special Order on this really important topic.
  Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we held a hearing in the House Committee on 
Foreign Affairs on the administration's actions in Iran. Over the past 
few weeks, the United States and Iran have come closer to outright war 
than any time in our history. However, despite the seriousness of the 
situation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to appear.
  The Framers of the Constitution gave the power to declare war solely 
to the Congress of the United States, the elected representatives of 
the people. The reason they did that is they wanted to prevent a 
President from making the decision to take the country to war without 
the support of the American people.
  As we think about the President's decision, the only lens through 
which we

[[Page H277]]

should view it is whether or not those actions made Americans safer and 
strengthened America's national security interests in the region and 
around the world.
  The fact that Soleimani got what he deserved does not mean that this 
decision was strategically wise or that it enhanced American security.
  I, frankly, have been shocked by some of the arguments being put 
forth by my colleagues in support of the President's actions and the 
criticism being directed at Members of Congress for taking our war 
powers responsibility seriously.
  Have we become so completely partisan that Members of Congress no 
longer care at all about the checks and balances put in place to 
protect our democracy? I heard Members on the other side describe the 
idea of even holding a hearing on the administration's actions against 
Iran as absurd.
  The idea that we, as Congress, would sit back and allow this 
administration or any administration to take our country to the brink 
of war and just trust them, despite conflicting explanations, obvious 
falsehoods, and a complete lack of strategy and planning, is what is 
  What is absurd is the Secretary of State spending nearly 2 years 
agitating for armed conflict with Iran and then refusing to come to 
explain himself after he succeeds in convincing the President to engage 
in military action.
  If you are Secretary of State while the country enters into a tense 
military conflict, you should expect to clear your schedule and get up 
to Congress to make your case. Yet, the Secretary had somewhere more 
important to be yesterday.
  That is a shocking abrogation of his duty to report to this body, 
which has the sole power to declare war on behalf of the American 
  One would think that if the Secretary was so confident in his 
intelligence, so confident in his justification, and so confident in 
his strategy that he would be eager to present it and defend it to 
  We know he has been making the rounds on television, yet he fails to 
appear under oath where he can be held accountable. Perhaps that has 
something to do with the conflicting stories that have been coming out 
of the administration concerning their justification for the strike 
against Qasem Soleimani.
  First, we were told that there was an imminent threat against the 
United States, but Secretary Pompeo couldn't say when or where that 
attack might occur and presented no underlying or raw intelligence to 
support that conclusion.
  Then, the President said Soleimani was plotting to attack up to four 
American Embassies in the region. Yet, this was not mentioned in 
briefings to Congress, and other senior officials in the administration 
were unaware of such a plot.
  Other officials have linked the Soleimani killing to past and future 
attacks Soleimani might have been plotting with no specificity, while 
others have reported that the killing was first planned as long as 7 
months ago.
  The conflicting explanations coming out of this administration, 
combined with their unwillingness to share details with Congress or the 
American people, leave us no choice but to conclude that the President 
acted outside of the authority under the War Powers Resolution and took 
unilateral military action against a senior government official without 
proper authorization.
  I have heard others make the argument that none of this matters. 
Soleimani is a bad guy and got what he deserved. The Iranians have 
backed off so it is all fine.
  That is today. What about the next time? When an administration 
believes it can launch a military strike that might lead to war with no 
information-sharing, no legal justification, and no oversight, who 
knows what they will do next.
  Nearly every step taken over the past 2 years by President Trump and 
Secretary Pompeo has seemed designed to create conflict with Iran by 
asserting maximum pressure. Without any option or plan for a negotiated 
solution, armed conflict became more and more likely.
  There is no evidence that we are safer today than we were before the 
killing of Soleimani. In fact, we know we are less safe.
  We have stopped the training of Iraqis in the fight against ISIS. 
There are more American troops that have been sent to the region. We 
have now suffered two attacks on bases that house American and allied 
forces. This notion that we are safer today is simply belied by the 
  So we are here today, and it doesn't appear that the administration 
has any strategy or plan for next steps, other than the farfetched wish 
that Iran will be so cowed in the face of their bluster that it will 
agree to all of their demands. That seems unlikely and doesn't 
represent any thoughtful or coherent planning.
  Forgive me if I don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past and put 
my trust in officials when they march us to war and claim: ``Trust us. 
This is necessary.''

  I will not be responsible for sending the men and women of Rhode 
Island--or any other State, for that matter--into harm's way so that 
the President can feel like a big shot and his advisers can finally 
achieve the war they seem to have been building toward since he took 
  I am disgusted by the Secretary's absence yesterday. He should appear 
before the committee as soon as possible, and that means within days, 
to explain himself, the administration's position, and their plan for 
preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and promoting America's 
national security and keeping America safe.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me time.
  Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. 
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I thank Congresswoman Tlaib for leading 
this conversation today. I am seeing some of my colleagues on the floor 
today who remember the story that I want to tell.
  This was the fall of 2002, and there was a vigorous debate going on 
whether or not we should be sending our troops to declare war on Iraq 
and take out Saddam Hussein. The story went that there were weapons of 
mass destruction.
  Yes, we had briefings. They were in the north. They were in the 
south, the west, and the east. They were there all right, we were told.
  A vote was going to come up on the Authorization for Use of Military 
Force, AUMF, in Iraq. There was one voice in particular that stood out 
and still stands out to me, a woman who was the ranking Democrat on the 
Intelligence Committee. Her name was Nancy Pelosi. She stood up at our 
meetings and said, no, there is no intelligence to justify that we go 
to war in Iraq.
  A group of us got together. I see Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the only 
Member who, because we were already in Afghanistan, voted against that 
war, who put together a group called the Out of Iraq Caucus. We went 
door-to-door, literally, and asked our Democratic friends in the House 
to say no to this war because it was not necessary.
  At the end of the day, even though the press story had already been 
written that somehow it was almost a unanimous vote, 60 percent of the 
Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against that war in 
  That was over 17 years ago. We still have troops in Iraq. We spent 
trillions, literally trillions of dollars, and the loss of life on all 
sides, including our precious American soldiers that we sent--most 
Americans today agree that that war was a disaster and that we 
shouldn't have done it. We learned a lesson.
  When it came time to talk about the threat that we knew was there, 
the nuclear weapons program in Iran, we worked with President Barack 
Obama in a diplomatic way to pass the Iran agreement that actually 
stopped Iran from developing nuclear weapons that would threaten not 
only the United States and the region but the rest of the world. And it 
was working. There were inspectors that would report to us. Every 
month, we got a report that said it was working.
  Along comes Donald Trump, who had said even in the campaign that this 
is a really bad idea, that this is a terrible agreement. Lo and behold, 
just a few weeks ago, he decided--it seems like a long time. Not long 
ago, he decides, all

[[Page H278]]

of a sudden, that it is a really important thing for us to go after 
Iran while Soleimani, the general, who is part of the government, is in 
  No one is crying over the death of Soleimani. The question is: Is the 
United States safer now than it was? The answer is a resounding no.
  That is why I am in strong support of the legislation by Barbara Lee 
that says we will sunset that 2002 Authorization for Use of Military 
Force in Iraq and the legislation by Ro Khanna that will prohibit the 
use of Federal funds for military action in or against Iran unless 
Congress specifically authorizes it or declares war or such actions are 
undertaken consistent with the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
  In other words, come to Congress. That is who we are. That is our 
job. We are the ones who are supposed to say war or peace. The most 
important thing we could do is decide whether we send our young men and 
women into harm's way to sacrifice their lives.
  We have to exert our authority. We have to exert our authority right 
  I stand in support of that legislation. We don't need, and the 
American people don't want, another endless war in Iran or anywhere in 
the Middle East. It is time to say no, to say that Congress is going to 
make those decisions, and to do it now.
  Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I yield to my colleague from California (Ms. 
Lee), my mentor. The original squad member is what I like to call her. 
I so appreciate the leadership role that she plays in the Congressional 
Progressive Caucus, especially in trying to suspend and stop all war 
efforts by our country.

  Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, first, I thank my colleague, who 
is a bold and brilliant progressive here, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. 
I thank her for organizing this Special Order tonight, but I also thank 
her for her leadership and for hitting the ground running in the House 
of Representatives. It has been quite remarkable to work with her and 
to see how she understands the issues around peace and justice, that 
peace and justice go together.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Congresswoman Schakowsky for her speech tonight 
and for her presentation, for laying out the chronology and historical 
record for how we got here and how we, unfortunately, were misled by 
the lies of the Bush administration into this tragic, endless war. I 
thank her very much for her leadership, for her friendship, and for 
staying the course because this has been, what, 19 years now? We have 
to repeal this authorization.
  Mr. Speaker, let me just say to Representatives Pramila Jayapal and 
Mark Pocan, who co-chair our Progressive Caucus, their tireless 
leadership in the Progressive Caucus has really helped with making sure 
that the public understands all the issues that we are dealing with as 
it relates to global peace and security.
  I chair the Progressive Caucus' Global Peace and Security Task Force, 
and we are very clear on why we must stop a possible catastrophic war 
with Iran and reassert our constitutional duty over matters of war and 
  Mr. Speaker, I invite all of my colleagues and the rest of the CPC to 
support the repeal of the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of 
Military Force. I am pleased that the House leadership has agreed to 
bring my repeal of the 2002 AUMF to the floor in 2 weeks, and I 
encourage Members on both sides of the aisle to cosponsor that 
  First, with regard to the 2001 authorization, 19 years ago, Congress 
passed a 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, AUMF. It was 
supposedly against Afghanistan, as it relates to the horrific events of 

                              {time}  1745

  It was a blank check, however, for endless war. It was a 60-word 
authorization. It was totally open-ended.
  Now we have a Congress where--or at least the House--less than 25 
percent of current Members actually voted on that authorization, which, 
of course, I adamantly opposed.
  This authorization gives any President authority to wage limitless 
war at any time, anywhere, for any reason, in perpetuity. According to 
the Congressional Research Service, the AUMF has been used as a blank 
check by three administrations to justify military force more than 40 
times in 18 countries.
  Mr. Speaker, I include the CRS report in the Record.

      [From the Congressional Research Service, February 16, 2018]


     Subject: Presidential References to the 2001 Authorization 
         for Use of Military Force in Publicly Available Executive 
         Actions and Reports to Congress.
     From: Matthew Weed, Specialist in Foreign Policy Legislation, 
       This memorandum was prepared to enable distribution to more 
     than one congressional office.
       This memorandum sets out information and analysis 
     concerning presidential references in public official 
     notifications and records to the Authorization for Use of 
     Military Force (2001 AUMF; Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 
     Sec. 1541 note), enacted in response to the September 11, 
     2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, in relation to 
     military and other action. It contains very brief discussions 
     of the relevant provisions of the 2001 AUMF, and the uses of 
     U.S. armed forces connected with 2001 AUMF authority, as well 
     as excerpted language and other information from the 

     Use of Military Force Authorization Language in the 2001 AUMF

       Section 2(a) of the 2001 AUMF authorizes the use of force 
     in response to the September 11 attacks:
       Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
     United States of America in Congress assembled,


       (a) In General.--That the President is authorized to use 
     all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, 
     organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, 
     committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on 
     September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or 
     persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international 
     terrorism against the United States by such nations, 
     organizations or persons.
       The 2001 AUMF does not include a specified congressional 
     reporting requirement, but states that the authorization is 
     not intended to supersede any requirement of the War Powers 
     Resolution, which does require congressional reporting for 
     initial and continuing deployments of U.S. armed forces into 
     imminent or ongoing hostilities.

      Executive Branch Policy Concerning Utilization of 2001 AUMF 

       Prior to the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic 
     State that began in summer 2014, executive branch officials 
     made statements that included certain interpretations 
     concerning the 2001 AUMF, including the following:
       The 2001 AUMF is primarily an authorization to enter into 
     and prosecute an armed conflict against Al Qaeda and the 
     Taliban in Afghanistan.
       The 2001 AUMF authorizes the President to use military 
     force against Al Qaeda and the Taliban outside Afghanistan, 
     but such uses of force must meet a higher standard of threat 
     to the United States and must use limited, precise methods 
     against specific individual targets rather than general 
     military action against enemy forces.
       Because the 2001 AUMF authorizes U.S. involvement in an 
     international armed conflict, the international law of armed 
     conflict informs the authority within the 2001 AUMF. This law 
     permits the use of military force against forces associated 
     with Al Qaeda and the Taliban as co-belligerents; such forces 
     must be operating in some sort of coordination and 
     cooperation with Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban, not just share 
     similar goals, objectives, or ideologies.
       This interpretation of the scope of 2001 AUMF authority can 
     be seen to fit within the overall framework of presidential 
     power to use military force against those posing a threat to 
     U.S. national security and U.S. interests. In situations 
     where the 2001 AUMF or other relevant legislation does not 
     seem to authorize a given use of military force or related 
     activity, the executive branch will determine whether the 
     President's Article II powers as Commander in Chief and Chief 
     Executive, as interpreted by the executive branch itself, 
     might authorize such actions. In this way, similar U.S. 
     military action to meet U.S. counterterrorism objectives 
     might be interpreted to fall under different authorities, of 
     which the 2001 AUMF is just one, albeit important, example.

     December 2016 Legal Framework Report on Use of Military Force

       President Obama issued a report in December 2016 entitled, 
     ``Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the 
     United States' Use of Military Force, and Related National 
     Security Operations.'' Among other matters, the Report deals 
     with the legal justification for the United States' ongoing 
     use of military force against the Islamic State, which 
     according to the Report has taken place in the form of 
     airstrikes, military advising and training of Iraqi security 
     forces and Syrian rebel groups, and military activities of 
     U.S. special operations forces in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. The 
     Report asserts that such use of force is authorized by the 
     2001 AUMF, arguing certain factors as determinative:
       1. The 2001 AUMF authorizes the President to use military 
     force ``in order to prevent any future acts of international 
     terrorism against the United States by such nations, 
     organizations, or persons'' who perpetrated or harbored those 
     who perpetrated the September 11, 2001 terror attacks against 
     the United States.

[[Page H279]]


       2. Al Qaeda was identified as the primary organization 
     responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks.
       3. Organized, armed groups that are co-belligerent with Al 
     Qaeda against the United States are targetable under the 2001 
     AUMF pursuant to the law of international armed conflicts as 
     ``associated forces.''
       4. With specific regard to the Islamic State, the United 
     States determined in 2004 that Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the 
     predecessor organization of the Islamic State, was either 
     part of Al Qaeda itself or an associated force in 2004 and 
     has used force against the group under 2001 AUMF authority 
     since that time, including after AQI changed its name to the 
     Islamic State (or ISIL or ISIS).
       5. The fact that the Islamic State has asserted a split 
     between itself and Al Qaeda does not divest the President of 
     his previous authority to use force against the Islamic 
     State, as the Islamic State's conflict with the United States 
     and its allies has continued.
       6. Congress has supported military action against the 
     Islamic State by specifically funding the military campaign 
     and providing authority to assist groups fighting the Islamic 
     State in Iraq and Syria.

  Records of Executive Actions and Presidential Reporting to Congress 
                       Referencing the 2001 AUMF

       Since 2001, Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and 
     Donald Trump have referenced in public notifications the 2001 
     AUMF in connection with initiating or continuing certain 
     military or related actions (including non-lethal military 
     activities such as detentions and military trials), as U.S. 
     armed forces continue to counter Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and 
     violent extremist and terrorist groups designated as 
     associated with those two organizations. The notifications 
     reference both statutory and constitutional authority for the 
     President to take such action, as well as statutory 
     provisions requiring congressional notification, including 
     reference to provisions in the 2001 AUMF. As will be 
     discussed in detail below, the manner in which Presidents 
     have presented information on military deployments and 
     actions in these notifications, the constitutional and 
     statutory authority for such actions, and the reporting 
     requirements for such actions, have changed over time, making 
     it difficult to aggregate such information.

  Notifications of Deploying U.S. Armed Forces and/or Using Military 
               Force Involving Reference to the 2001 AUMF

       Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump have provided formal 
     notifications of military deployments and/or action to 
     Congress at various times since enactment of the 2001 AUMF, 
     referring to that authorization to various degrees and ends. 
     While presidential reports to Congress concerning the use of 
     military force and other activities undertaken by the U.S. 
     armed forces initially provided a fairly simple and 
     straightforward discussion of actions and related 
     authorities, over time these reports became increasingly 
     detailed, complicated, and difficult to decipher with regard 
     to determining applicable presidential authority. At all 
     times, both Presidents have relied primarily on their 
     constitutional Article II powers as Commander in Chief and 
     Chief Executive. In many instances, reference to 2001 AUMF 
     authority has been supplementary and indirect; in only a few 
     cases has a President relied directly on 2001 AUMF authority 
     as justification for a military operation, deployment, or 
     other action.
       Below are provided several tables of information concerning 
     presidential notifications and records of other executive 
     action referencing the 2001 AUMF. Each table provides:
       a date of each notification or record;
       the relevant military activity, location, and/or purpose of 
     such activities, as available;
       the constitutional and statutory authority provided in the 
     notification or record as provided; and
       the reference to applicable reporting requirements 
     precipitating each respective notification or record.
       For Tables 1-8, each set out in its own section with 
     accompanying analysis, each table includes a group of 
     notifications that are similar in composition and content. 
     Each subsequent table and section, therefore, denotes a 
     change in composition of the notifications referencing the 
     2001 AUMF in some way.

  Initial Reporting in the Aftermath of the September 11, 2001 Attacks

       President Bush's reports to Congress concerning military 
     deployments in the weeks following the September 11, 2001 
     terror attacks were relatively concise, focusing on the need 
     to address the terrorist threat in the immediate aftermath of 
     the attacks, and the deployments and actions taken in 
     response to such threat. The first notification on September 
     24, 2001 references deployments to ``a number of foreign 
     nations'' in the ``Central and Pacific Command areas of 
     operations.'' Major military operations in Afghanistan had 
     not yet commenced. The second notification on October 9, 2001 
     includes similar information but also notifies Congress of 
     the commencement of combat against Al Qaeda and the Taliban 
     in Afghanistan. In these two notifications, President Bush 
     stated that he had taken the actions described pursuant to 
     his constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and Chief 
     Executive. In both notifications, he referred to the 2001 
     AUMF as evidencing the continuing support of Congress, but 
     did not specifically state he had taken such action pursuant 
     to 2001 AUMF authority. The President stated in these 
     notifications that he was reporting on these actions to 
     Congress consistent with both the War Powers Resolution and 
     the 2001 AUMF. It is possible to conclude that reporting 
     action consistent with the 2001 AUMF would mean that the 
     action was considered taken pursuant to 2001 AUMF authority. 
     See Table 1 below for more information and precise language 
     related to 2001 AUMF references in these notifications.

  Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I hope you look at this map, and 
you will see exactly where the 2001 authorization has been used for 
military strikes and force.
  Two decades later, as outlined in the Afghanistan Papers, which I 
hope the Speaker has read, published in The Washington Post, I believe 
this was in December, the false justifications and inconsistencies led 
to a 19-year, endless war--Washington Post, Afghanistan Papers.
  The Pentagon consistently misled and lied to the American people 
about our progress in Afghanistan. This endless war has caused 
countless deaths of servicemembers, innocent civilians. It has cost 
trillions of dollars. It has created repercussions throughout the 
region and the world.
  It is truly concerning, and I urge my colleagues to read through the 
details of this report. Our own generals and ambassadors did not know 
then, and still do not know what our strategy was or why we are still 
involved in this war.
  We must ask ourselves: Why are we putting our servicemembers into 
harm's way?
  Why are innocent civilians' lives in flux?
  Why are we making our country less safe?
  But it wasn't just in 2001 when we passed an open-ended 
authorization. Next, in 2002, I stood here with my colleagues to urge 
us not to rush to war in Iraq based on false intelligence, mostly, 
weapons of mass destruction, and to vote against the 2002 AUMF.
  I offered then an amendment to this authorization that would have 
prevented this war by requiring that the inspectors go to verify that 
there were weapons of mass destruction before military action. That 
seemed reasonable. At least we should have had the data and the 
information to justify the use of force.
  But, of course, my amendment only received, I believe it was, 72 
votes. Shame on us.
  But if it had passed, it would have exposed the lie that the war was 
based on. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
  So it is time to repeal that outdated authorization. And as I stand 
here, as I have stood here so many times to say, the American people do 
not want another catastrophic war of choice in the Middle East.
  Make no mistake: The dangerous and reckless actions taken by 
President Trump have brought us to the brink of an all-out war with 
Iran. Since day one, Trump and his warmongering administration have 
inched us closer to war with Iran. They have completely neglected 
diplomacy at every turn.
  Secretary Pompeo is the Secretary of State and should be our chief 
diplomat. Instead, we see our chief diplomat promoting the use of force 
in the Middle East.
  Ending the effective and successful Iran nuclear deal, known as the 
JCPOA, once again, this administration has made us less safe and has 
allowed Iran to move forward to begin to look at how to develop a 
nuclear weapon. That is outrageous, when we had verified the fact that 
they had stopped this.
  We have also, unfortunately, increased troop presence in the Middle 
East and promoted a dangerous and maximum pressure campaign with Iran 
and increasing economic sanctions.
  This administration is giving Members of Congress and the American 
people conflicting and contradictory information. We were told the 
President authorized the assassination of General Soleimani due to an 
``imminent threat,'' as permitted by the War Powers Act.
  Now Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is saying that he has seen no 
evidence of an ``imminent threat'' and conducted the strike for 
  Unfortunately, they can't even keep up with their lies.
  Now, more than ever, Congress needs to exercise our constitutional 
responsibility to stop these endless wars. That

[[Page H280]]

is why I am proud to have voted last week in support of Congresswoman 
Slotkin's War Powers Resolution to limit the President's military 
action regarding Iran and prevent this crisis from spiraling out of 
  I am also pleased that my bipartisan bill, H.R. 2456, would repeal 
the 2002 authorization. That is going to be taken up in 2 weeks.
  The administration has falsely claimed that they can justify the use 
of force against Iran by conducting assassinations and strikes in Iraq. 
It doesn't make any sense.
  My amendment to repeal the 2002 AUMF was included in the House-passed 
fiscal 2020 NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act, and voted on a 
bipartisan basis, but it was stripped by Republicans from the final 
bill. And now, unfortunately, we know why Senator McConnell and the 
Trump administration took that out of the NDAA. We understand their 
strategy now as it relates to that and what happened in Iraq.
  When Congress passed the 2002 AUMF before the invasion of Iraq, many 
of us did not support it. It was intended, again, to address the 
perceived threat posed by Saddam Hussein as it related to weapons of 
mass destruction. U.S. military deployments and operations carried out 
pursuant to the 2002 AUMF, dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom--remember 
that?--officially concluded in 2011, no more.
  Almost 18 years after the resolution's passage, we still have this 
authorization on the books, and that isn't even being used in any 
current military operations, and it shouldn't be used.
  In 2 weeks, we will take up Congressman Khanna's bill, which I am 
proud to cosponsor, to prohibit funds from being used for a war with 
Iran absent explicit congressional authorization. We must do our job.
  Mr. Speaker, we have known for years that there is no military 
solution in the Middle East, and it is past time to return to a 
diplomatic strategy with our allies.
  We cannot allow this President's irresponsible and irrational 
decisionmaking to drag us into an unnecessary and catastrophic war in 
the Middle East. We must protect our national security, our brave 
troops, our allies, people in the region, Iraqis, Iranians, everyone 
who lives in the midst of harm's way, and we must protect the American 

  So we ask the question each and every day now: Are we safer or less 
safe than before this assassination and military strike? I suggest that 
we are less safe, and we need to repeal the 2002 authorization to use 
  We need to pass Congressman Khanna's resolution, and we also need to 
look at a strategy and insist that this administration come to Congress 
if, in fact, they intend to use force anywhere in the world.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Congresswoman Tlaib for her leadership and for 
this Special Order.
  Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. 
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentlewoman's courtesy 
in permitting me to speak on this and bringing us together, and I have 
enjoyed listening to my colleagues walk us down memory lane.
  Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, these are painful memories, but we were 
here when the United States made the single biggest foreign policy 
blunder in our history, costing hundreds of thousands of lives in the 
Middle East--not just thousands of Americans--costing trillions of 
  We are watching every day in America the price being paid by men and 
women who come back with injuries, both visible and those that aren't: 
PTSD, missing limbs, lost opportunities, and troubled families.
  Three days ago, there was a quotation describing what was going on 
with Boeing's design of the 737 MAX, where one of their engineers said 
it was designed by clowns and supervised by monkeys. I think that act, 
sadly, is what we are looking at, the clown act that is going on now, 
trying to sort out a rationale for another rash act that has, in fact, 
left us less safe.
  Now, Donald Trump campaigned tapping into the antiwar sentiment and 
professed to be against endless wars. He professed to have been against 
the war in Iraq. Of course, an examination of his record finds out, 
like most things, he is on both sides of that question.
  But he has taken a step that puts us in harm's way again. It recalls 
the Beirut tragedy, where there was the largest loss of life since 
World War II in a single day, October 23, 1983. 241 marines were lost 
in that car bombing in the barracks in Beirut.
  But that was preceded by what some, at this point, would, I think, 
fairly assess reckless action on behalf of the United States in terms 
of heavy shelling of Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, things that we 
could have done many times before but cooler heads prevailed because of 
some of the potential backlash. That was, indeed, a serious backlash, 
and we ended up not only having the loss of Marine lives; we had to 
withdraw and further unsettle that troubled area of the country.
  Well, what we have seen now is that, with one reckless act--the 
execution, the assassination of General Soleimani is something that we 
could have done. Prior Presidents knew his location. They could have 
assassinated him, and they certainly had no love lost for a truly 
reprehensible human being. But they knew that they needed to exercise 
restraint because the consequences could be grave.
  The one act of assassination has been fascinating to watch because 
what we have seen now is that the Iraqis, in their Parliament, have 
disinvited us, told us to leave.
  We have watched in Iran where just weeks before there were violent 
demonstrations that were put down by that repressive regime against 
their own people. People were demonstrating at great personal peril as 
the forces for reform were bubbling up.
  But wasn't it interesting. Immediately after that assassination by 
the United States in Iraq, not only did it consolidate Iraqis wanting 
us to leave, but it--at least, temporarily--united the Iranian people 
against us.
  But for the tragedy of shooting down a civilian airliner which was 
mistaken for an American bomber, there would have been--that has 
generated more hostility toward the regime, and it was their own 
ineptness that did that, no thanks to this administration.
  Watch what has been happening lately. We had a series of briefings 
that were scheduled to finally give information to some of the 
committees. I am under no illusion that they would be detailed, but at 
least they would have gone through the motions.
  They have been canceled, a series of them, with no good reason, after 
they had been scheduled, and people were looking forward to that 

                              {time}  1800

  Perhaps it is because this administration can't get its act together, 
can't get its stories straight. For the last 10 days, we have watched 
late night comedians use film clips of the Secretary of Defense, of the 
Secretary of State, of Donald Trump dissembling, tripping over 
themselves in not just fractured rhetoric and syntax but contradicting 
what, in fact, was their rationale, why, when, and where. It makes for 
good comedy, but unfortunately, this is serious. We are talking about a 
very fragile state in the Middle East.
  I was in the White House being briefed by Secretary of State Condi 
Rice and George Tenet, head of the CIA, telling us about an imminent 
danger then, but at least we had White House briefings, at least they 
went through the pretext. They were wrong, and they didn't persuade me 
or a number of my colleagues, some of whom you have heard from tonight, 
who voted against their authorization, voted against their reckless 
efforts. We have seen this movie before. I hope it doesn't spiral out 
of control again.
  It is important, Mr. Speaker, that Americans understand the stakes 
that are involved. It is important for Congress to finally reassert 
itself. I think knowing what we know now, those of us who opposed the 
Iraq war would have been overwhelmingly supported, and we would have 
rejected it. But we have had the benefit of history to be able to 
hopefully learn from our mistakes.
  We have legislation coming forward when we return to Washington in 2 
weeks. H.R. 5543, the No War Against Iran Act sponsored by 
Representative Ro Khanna, a number of us are original cosponsors, 
agitating for this moving forward. It would prevent any funds from 
being used for military force

[[Page H281]]

against Iran, unless legislation is passed to specifically authorize 
such military action and clarify that Congress has not already 
authorized the use of force against Iran, specifically indicating those 
2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force do not authorize 
war with Iran. We need to pass that.
  The bill's text matches an amendment that passed on the House floor 
with 251 votes just last summer. And I would hope that we would find 
members of the House in both parties who voted for it last summer to 
add their voice and urge their Republican colleagues in the Senate to 
join us to permit a vote.
  We have H.R. 2456 to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military 
Force Against Iraq, the resolution of 2002 led by Congresswoman Barbara 
Lee, who spoke so eloquently here a few moments ago. Again, I am proud 
to cosponsor and support it. It would eliminate the authorization for 
the use of force against Iraq resolution of 2002. And again, this 
matches a bipartisan amendment passed last summer with 242 votes in the 
  These are simple, commonsense, bipartisan, and it is time for us to 
enact them into law. These were stripped out in the process of the 
budget that Republicans in the Senate and the administration would not 
go along with, but it is time, especially given the reckless acts of 
this administration recently, to go back, revisit, and approve each of 
these elements when we are given an opportunity on the floor of the 
  I am absolutely convinced, based on conversations I have had with 
friends of mine, well-meaning Members of Congress at the time, who 
voted for that authorization, who voted for the war who felt that that 
was one of the worst votes they ever cast. We have an opportunity to 
unwind some of that now when we come back by approving those two pieces 
of legislation.
  I deeply appreciate my colleague organizing this conversation 
tonight. For some people it may seem like it is beating a dead horse. I 
think not. These are lessons that we learn too slowly. These are 
lessons that we have paid for in blood, in treasure, in upset in our 
communities, in pain and suffering in the United States and around the 
world. I hope that Congresswoman Tlaib will continue in her effort at 
being such a strong voice for peace and rationality, because we have to 
continue to amplify this message for the American people.
  I thank the congresswoman again for allowing me to participate in 
this conversation this evening.
  Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his incredible 
leadership. It is a blessing here.
  This administration's rogue attempt to start a war with Iran has 
endangered countless lives around the world. We are farther away from 
global peace and bringing our troops home.
  Just as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been disastrous, 
resulting in deaths of millions of people and costing trillions of 
dollars, a war with Iran and Iraqi Shia militias would destabilize the 
region and cause untold human suffering.
  Congress must act swiftly to reclaim our authority over declarations 
of war and uphold the will of the American people who loudly say no to 
war with Iran.
  Our residents want us focused on ensuring everyone in America has the 
opportunity to thrive. Trillions of dollars have been spent on death 
and destruction instead of on education and healthcare that communities 
like Michigan's 13th District Strong so desperately need. Instead we 
have wars now that have become political campaign moves.
  I represent the third poorest congressional district in the country. 
My residents don't want more endless wars in the Middle East. They want 
good jobs, affordable healthcare, and good schools for their children.
  We must reclaim our government from those who pushed the war, and we 
must dismantle the military industrial complex once and for all.
  From day one this administration has antagonized Iran, tearing up the 
successful nuclear deal, imposing crippling unilateral sanctions that 
hurt everyday people a lot more than they hurt the Iran leadership.
  Our foreign policy has been driven by warmongers obsessed with regime 
change, despite a long and bloody American track record of failed 
regime changes across the globe. Fueled by a military industrial 
complex that demands new targets for its weapons, we have roamed from 
continent to continent destabilizing governments and learning no 
lessons. We have made it actually so much worse.
  The American people have seen what happens when we in Congress fail 
to live up to our duty as their representatives. When we don't ask the 
tough questions of those hungry for war, our soldiers, our men and 
women are sent to fight and die in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction 
that do not exist. Families from Vietnam to Libya are torn apart by 
bombs and bullets, and children across Southeast Asia are born without 
arms and legs because weapons like Agent Orange poison innocent 
civilians to this day.
  Let us finally, mercifully learn our lesson now. We must solve our 
differences with diplomacy, not missiles. No war with Iran not now, not 
ever. We live in a country where endless wars have been normalized, but 
it is not normal. It shouldn't be normal.
  When we demand a debt-free college education or healthcare for all, 
the establishment, folks in this Chamber ask how much will it cost and 
who will pay for it? However, we throw billions of dollars away on 
broken weapons systems. We spend trillions on sending our Armed Forces 
to die in rich people's wars.
  When we demand basic dignity and opportunity to thrive, that is when 
the establishment starts pretending to care about deficits and debt.
  We are awake to this game, and we are not playing it anymore. We must 
dismantle our war economy and reinvest in the people's economy.
  Last week's vote on the War Powers Resolution is a great first step 
toward reigning in the war machine, but we must go further. We need to 
pass Representative Lee's bill to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use 
of Military Force, which this administration is pretending authorizes 
their military maneuvers. And we need to pass Representative Khanna's 
bill to prohibit military spending on a war with Iran, right now, 
before another attack is ordered.
  We must all keep up the pressure and ask those tough questions and 
keep up the fight for the American people who are still to this day 
saying: Stop lying to us before you go to war. Stop using our men and 
women as campaign moves, rather than trying to keep our Nation safe.
  We can stop this march to war, but it is going to take all of us and 
take courage in this Chamber.
  I thank my good colleagues from the Congressional Progressive Caucus 
for their amazing and incredible courage to stand up and tell the truth 
that is sometimes lacking in this Chamber. We must do that. And 
sometimes staying silent or not asking those tough questions is the 
same as lying.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the 13th District for their faith and support in 
the work that I am doing in this Chamber. I yield back the balance of 
my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded to refrain from 
engaging in personalities toward the President and to address their 
remarks to the Chair.