Congress’ Correct Role in War
With a new Congress having taken its collective seat and a new President in the White House, there are no new bills to co-sponsor quite yet, but there is plenty of anticipation about bills soon to be introduced – or reintroduced. Among them will most likely be a new one dealing with the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. It is our hope that Congress will endeavor to stick to the U.S. Constitution and repeal the law that, since 2001, has given such war-making authority to the President.
President Joe Biden has inherited U.S.-involved conflicts in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, whether it involves boots on the ground or fighter planes and drone warfare in the air. He has suggested a preference for replacing, rather than revoking, the AUMF; his plan is for limited Congressional authority to authorize a war, with the White House also getting a say in the matter. The notion of an “endless war” at a president’s whim would then remain a possibility.
But there is growing bipartisan support in the current Congress to repeal the AUMF. Whether from Democrats tired of such endless wars or Republicans who don’t want to leave the power to make war in the hands of a Democratic President, this is an opportunity to take advantage of that sentiment and put a roadblock in the way of any president’s perceived ability to stir things up militarily.
Action: Contact Rep. Jackie Speier or Anna Eshoo, or whomever represents you, and tell them 2021 should be the year Congress repeals the AUMF and takes back its Constitutional authority to declare war. Contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, with the same message. Suggest that the new (or “new again”) way of approaching this very weighty subject will be a proper alternative to the present system, regardless of which political party is in the White House.
Toward Peace With Iran
There is a lot of “scrubbing” of Donald Trump’s effects on America ahead for Biden, and now that can begin to happen. For one thing, Biden has expressed a willingness to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the Iran Nuclear Agreement – meant to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful in exchange for a lifting of sanctions by the U.S. and the rest of the world.
The Trump administration’s actions with regard to Iran increased tensions on seemingly a constant basis – between abandoning the nuclear deal, threatening war, assassinating an Iranian military leader and ramping up sanctions. The latter tactic, with its collective punishment, has also created COVID- and economic-related hardships for the Iranian people, the result of which could be a more hard-line and anti-American government following Iran’s June 2021 elections.
The present Iranian government has also shown an openness to returning to the agreement, the terms by which they were essentially abiding before Trump pulled out. Thus Biden can show good faith and lower the temperature among the two countries and the others involved in the deal by offering to also resume it. After four years of Trump, that process is sure to be complicated…but diplomacy is a far better look than antagonism.
Action: Contact President Biden and tell him to keep his campaign promise of returning the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal – as well as ease the sanctions on Iran. Add that the agreement was working previously, and that the sanctions are, as is always the case with sanctions, affecting the people of Iran the worst.
Another encouraging word from Biden is his statement of support for ending U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen. That can be as simple as ordering a stop to the flow of our fighter planes and weapons to the Saudis who are waging this deadly offensive. The result of the war has been arguably the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, in which Yemenis are being killed by bombs (from Saudi planes sometimes fueled in mid-air by U.S. planes) and starved by blockade-induced famines. Here again the pandemic has made life that much worse for the population.
Congress in 2020 moved to cut off funds for our role in Yemen with a War Powers resolution, which was vetoed by Trump. We would hope for a different result from Biden, and there is good reason to anticipate another such resolution. But we would prefer he wasted no time and stopped the lethal aid to Saudi Arabia with a stroke of his pen. Without such aid, the war would surely end sooner.
Action: Contact Biden and also tell him to end the US. role in the war on Yemen as soon as possible. We can also contact Rep. Speier or Eshoo, as well as Senators Feinstein and Padilla, and tell them to get on the same page by co-sponsoring a War Powers Resolution to stop U.S. funding of this deadly, debilitating and cruel war.
Directory Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 Senator Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841 FAX: (202) 228-3954 (415) 393-0707 FAX: (415)393-0710
Senator Alex Padilla (202) 224-3553 fax: (202) 224-2200
Representative Jackie Speier
(202) 225-3531 FAX: (202) 226-4183
(650) 342-0300 FAX: (650) 375-8270
Representative Anna Eshoo
(202) 225-8104 FAX: (202) 225-8890
(650) 323-2984 FAX: (650) 323-3498
President Joe Biden The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20500 (202)456-1111: fax: (202)456-2461 www.whitehouse.gov/contact/