Congressman Cohen Votes for War Powers Resolution with Respect to Iran

January 9, 2020
Press Release
Makes clear the Constitution says Congress has the sole authority to declare war


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today voted for a resolution directing the President to terminate the use of U.S. armed forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran without first getting the consent of Congress. The vote reasserts the Constitution’s provision that Congress has the sole authority to declare war and works to bring the President into compliance with his obligations under the War Powers Act of 1973. The resolution makes clear: “The Congress has not authorized the President to use military force against Iran.” 

The vote on passage was 224 to 194. 

Before the vote, Congressman Cohen spoke on the House floor. See those remarks here.  

After the vote, Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. We are the peoples’ representatives and the Founders intended for Congress to have sole power to declare war. No President can Constitutionally engage in a foreign conflict without our consent. The War Powers Act requires the President to notify Congress ‘in every possible instance’ in advance of an attack, which, in the case of the attack on General Qassim Suleimani, he failed to do. 

“The President’s reckless decision to kill General Suleimani has made us less safe and has benefitted ISIS while weakening our position in the Middle East by emboldening the Shiite communities in Iraq who want the U.S. to leave the country. Before Suleimani’s killing, the Iranian people were protesting against their government and seeking reforms. Now Iran is united against the United States. We have now made Suleimani a martyr who will inspire a new generation of Shia militants.”