Today, Thursday, January 9, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) released the following statement:
Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, was a heinous terrorist with the blood of hundreds of American servicemembers on his hands. The President was justified in eliminating a terrorist who had killed scores of Americans – and was planning to kill more.
While I have been encouraged by the recent de-escalation, we must not forget that Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and the United States and our allies still face ongoing threats in the region. We must be prepared to act swiftly and appropriately to keep Americans safe.
First, I am concerned that this resolution, as it is written, could limit our nation’s ability to confront, thwart, and respond to grave and potentially unforeseen threats in the region. Second, I am concerned that this resolution sends conflicting signals to Iran and to its terrorist proxies. Third, this non-binding resolution simply mirrors existing law. The War Powers Act of 1973 already limits the President’s ability to engage in military conflict without authorization from Congress. Finally, we cannot – and must not — play partisan politics with our national security, or do anything that might undermine our servicemembers.
To protect Americans, the Commander-in-Chief, whether Democrat or Republican, must have the tools and capability to respond to exigent threats, whenever they rear their ugly head. That said, no president has the authority to go to war in Iran, or engage in long-term hostilities, without Congressional approval. As dictated by the Constitution, Congress has the sole and solemn responsibility to decide whether to commit brave Americans to war. Any long-term action requires our debate, assent, and vigilant oversight. This resolution does not cover that requirement. The decades-old Authorization for Use of Military Force must be replaced with a framework that addresses current action against terror and other operations.
I remain committed to always putting country ahead of party, protecting our nation from all threats, including a nuclear-armed Iran, and honoring the oath I took to protect and defend the Constitution.