Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s announcement pertaining to Israel and Palestine:

“This isn’t a peace plan. Any proposal that refuses to include Palestinian voices is not a plan at all. Rather, it’s a further entrenchment of the disastrous status quo that violates international law and denies basic human rights to millions of people. This outrageous proposal undermines decades of U.S. policy and sends a signal that our government cannot be trusted to advance peace and diplomacy on the world stage.

“The Trump Administration has shown that they will not pursue a fair, negotiated two-state solution. The White House has operated in bad faith from the outset – green-lighting annexation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and cutting desperately-needed humanitarian funds for Palestinians – with catastrophic results for the security and stability of the region and American credibility abroad.

“Neither Israelis nor Palestinians can afford a politically-motivated, counterproductive ‘peace plan’ that does nothing to secure peace or protect human dignity. Any viable peace plan must include both Israeli and Palestinian voices and prioritize real diplomacy and negotiation.”

BACKGROUND: At the urging of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the House of Representatives voted in December to pass Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s bill, H. Res 326, supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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It has been three years since Donald Trump's bigoted Muslim Ban went into effect. Three long years that families have been separated; loved ones have been forced to miss milestone celebrations, funerals, and weddings; students have been prevented from attending universities; patients have been blocked from obtaining lifesaving treatments in the United States; and Muslim Americans have felt attacked and insulted. By implementing this hateful policy, the Trump Administration has deliberately torn families apart and betrayed our founding promise as a nation that welcomes immigrants.

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) announced Wednesday afternoon that the week the House returns from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. District Work Period, it will consider Progressive Caucus-endorsed bills introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) to repeal the 2002 Congressional authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq and prevent taxpayer funding from being used to take military action against Iran without congressional authorization, respectively. On January 9, in a bipartisan vote, the House passed a resolution demanding that President Trump terminate the use of U.S. Armed Forces to engage in hostilities against Iran without Congressional authorization.

“We’re excited to have commitments for floor votes on both the Lee and Khanna bills during the week of January 27th. These bills, which have been endorsed by the Progressive Caucus, are critically needed to prevent war with Iran and stop President Trump from willfully defying the constitution. Finally Congress will have an opportunity to reassert our voice on military action,” said CPC Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “As we have learned more about the airstrikes, it’s become even more apparent that the White House manufactured reasons to drag us into a completely avoidable military escalation. Unless Congress acts, there’s nothing to stop President Trump from doing the same thing in the future. The Lee and Khanna bills are our best chance of preventing an avoidable future conflict with Iran, and we’re pleased that they will come to the floor before the end of the month.”

“I strongly support both of these bills, which will reassert Congress’s constitutional authority in questions of war and peace and sending American forces into harm’s way,” Leader Hoyer said. “I am particularly concerned about this Administration’s mischaracterization and misuse of the 2002 AUMF as legal justification for the recent strike in Iraq. It’s time to repeal this measure. I want to thank Rep. Lee, Rep. Khanna, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus for working closely with the House Democratic leadership to ensure the broadest possible support for these measures. I hope we can come together in a bipartisan way, as we did last week, to make it clear that, even while Iran remains a bad actor and sponsor of terror, President Trump does not have a unilateral authority to take our country into war against Iran and must work with Congress to meet this challenge.”

“For far too long, Congress has been missing in action on matters of war and peace,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “It is long overdue for Congress to reassert its Constitutional authority on the use of force. It is time to end giving blank checks to (any) President to wage endless wars. I'm pleased that House Leadership is bringing my bipartisan bill, H.R. 2456, to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) for a vote. It is more urgent than ever for Congress to do its job and prevent the President from using military force without Congressional authorization. Leaving this outdated AUMF on the books, which has been used to justify the use of force throughout the world, is not only dangerous but irresponsible."

“The future of American foreign policy cannot continue to emphasize military interventionism,” said Congressman Ro Khanna. “We must dedicate ourselves to pursuing a responsible, thoughtful foreign policy that prioritizes diplomacy and open communication. I am deeply thankful to Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and the entire Democratic leadership team for their support in bringing this critical legislation to the floor for a vote. It’s high time Congress reasserted our power of the purse, and made clear to any president that they must come to us first before taking any offensive military action. War should always be a last resort.”

The legislation introduced by Rep. Lee, H.R. 2456, would sunset the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, originally intended to enable operations against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Seventeen years after his removal from power, this AUMF has continued to be used by administrations to justify the use of American military force in Iraq. Rep. Khanna’s bill, H.R. 5543, prohibits the use of Federal funds for military action in or against Iran unless Congress specifically authorizes it or declares war or such actions are undertaken consistent with the War Powers Resolution of 1973. 

The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressman Mark Pocan (W1-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), along with CPC Peace and Security Task Force Chair Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), released the following statement urging immediate passage of two CPC-endorsed bills and a strong War Powers Resolution for Iran this week.
The assassination of Qasem Soleimani represents a dangerous, unconstitutional, and unprecedented military escalation with Iran. Congress has not given President Trump the authority to start a war with Iran – in fact, in the House-passed NDAA earlier this year, we explicitly prohibited preemptive military action of this kind in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote.
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