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Effort To Force Trump To Seek Congressional War Approval For Iran Fails

Code Pink protesters yell behind CIA Director Mike Pompeo as he waits to testify before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Pompeo's nomination to be secretary of state on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 12, 2018. FILE PHOTO

An effort to force the Trump administration to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran has failed after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee turned down the bipartisan proposal tabled by Democratic senators Chris Murphy and Tom Udall.

The panel voted 13-9 against forcing the Trump administration to seek a congressional signoff before any military strikes against Iranian targets.

With the “prevention of unconstitutional war against Iran” bill, Murphy had said he sought to “remind this administration that they do not have legal authorization to launch a war against Iran without our consent and that no one else is responsible but Trump for putting us on this blind campaign of escalation with no off-ramp.”

Udall tweeted: “There can be no war without Congressional authorization. That’s not our opinion – that’s the Constitution.”

“Every Republican except for @RandPaul opposed it,” Murphy tweeted.

Udall said in a statement: “Congress is a co-equal branch that has the sole authority to declare war – so we don’t have to sit around and watch this administration spiral us into another endless conflict in the Middle East.”

The panel’s decision comes days after President Trump warned the U.S. would destroy Iran should Tehran attack American targets – though he played down the comment on Monday by opening the door to dialogue, observers believe war remains a possible outcome of currently raised tensions.

A day before the vote Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan briefed lawmakers on intelligence on the continued threat Iran poses to US interests.