Contact Congress about the 2021 Nat'l Defense Authorization Act!

Critical legislation is being voted on in Congress, maybe as early as this week - the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act and the 2021 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. Contact your members of Congress to have them represent you with their vote: (Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121).   The issues are complex because some good antiwar amendments and base renaming amendments have been attached to these bills. Watch for your representatives’ statements on these issues. Chris Goldson and Gwen Moore, representatives from Milwaukee are planning to put out a statement on their intent early this week. Watch for their announcements.

A Quaker organization, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) opposes all war. They ask for our advocacy with Congressional offices to keep the imperative of preventing war as a top priority. They have issued an Action Alert to:

1) Contact your members of Congress to urge them to make a public statement calling for Rep. Barbara Lee’s (CA13) amendments to be included in the final Defense Appropriations Act that is approved by the House and Senate and sent to the president. and -  
2. As tensions with Iran increase there are more opportunities to publish letterstotheeditor warning of the dangerous of war with Iran, supporting the U.S. reentering the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) and calling on your members of Congress by name to support language in the Defense Spending Bill that would prevent a war with Iran.  

Public Statement Sample Language
ʺThe Trump administrations abandonment of the Iran Nuclear Deal, the imposition of crippling U.S. economic sanctions, the assassination of an Iranian scientist, and Iranian’s decision to enrich uranium have combined to raise the possibility of the U.S. being drawn into a war with Iran before the next president takes office in January.    
I strongly support the U.S. expanding diplomacy with Iran, reentering the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), and want to state clearly that Congress has not authorized a preemptive war with Iran. Which is why I also support the critical provisions in the House FY2021 Defense Appropriations Act, which make clear that President Trump has no authorization to launch attacks on Iran without approval from Congress. These provisions would also repeal outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), which three presidents have abused to justify nearly two decades of wars across the globe.   House and Senate Leadership must work to keep these important provisions in the final appropriations bill and do everything they can to prevent the United States from being dragged into another disastrous war in the Middle East.”

Find members of Congress


Some other talking points: 

- As a matter of public policy, we believe Congress must debate and vote before the president commits our military to lethal action and should regularly evaluate whether to continue ongoing U.S. wars. In fact, that’s what is required by the constitution.  
Article I of the Constitution states that only Congress has the power to declare war. Congress has not authorized military action against Iran.  

- Article II of the Constitution names the president commander‐in‐chief. The executive branch has interpreted this to give the president the ability to use military force to repel sudden attacks against the U.S., even without congressional authorization. The War Powers Act of 1973 provides the procedure that the president must follow when repelling imminent attacks and seeking congressional action on use of force. Diplomacy and international cooperation are the only paths to lasting security.  

- For the U.S., the conflict with Iran started with the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. For Iran, it started with the CIA’s overthrow of their elected government in the early 1950s. But the international nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 brought the two countries back into sustained diplomacy and blocked Iran’s path to building nuclear weapons.      
In May 2018, President Trump withdrew from that international agreement. That withdrawal, combined with the U.S. abandoning diplomacy, started a new downward spiral in U.S.‐Iranian relations. In 2019, the U.S. imposed an embargo on Iranian oil and Iran responded with military actions against oil tankers, drones, and Saudi oil facilities.
But the conflict has continued to escalate. In January 2020, a series of smaller skirmishes escalated when the U.S. assassinated a high‐ranking Iranian military official, leading Iran to retaliate by attacking a U.S. military base in Iraq.

- In 2020, both the Senate and the House passed Sen. Kaine’s resolution (S.J. Res 68) that direct “the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress.” In May 2020, S.J. Res 68 was vetoed by President Trump and the Senate failed to override the veto. The drumbeat in Congress against war with Iran is continuing.  
Members of Congress have also introduced legislation that prohibit the use of funds for an unauthorized war against Iran. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA‐13) attached three important amendments to the Defense Appropriations Act. These amendments would repeal the 2001 (9/11) AUMF, the 2002 (Iraq) AUMF, and prohibit the use of funds for an authorized war with Iran.  

For more information, contact:  https://www.fcnl.org or call  202-547-6000 

 

 

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Peace - Advocacy Team Action Sheet December.pdf228.47 KB