Organizational Letter Supporting Sen. Durbin’s (D-IL) RELIEF Act

October 16, 2019
To: Members of the U.S. Senate

Dear Honorable Senators,

As organizations representing immigrant communities who would be harmed by H.R. 1044/S. 386, the so-called Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, we write to express our support for the compromise offered by Sen. Dick Durbin in the Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act.

Many of our groups warned in September that H.R. 1044/S. 386 would not actually fix the green card backlog, and instead would reduce the diversity of the green card process and pit one group of immigrants against others to fight over a broken and inherently unequal system. 

Today, we encourage the Senate to instead support and pass the RELIEF Act to address the green card backlog. The bill recognizes that the backlog stems from too few green cards to meet the actual demand, which can only be sufficiently addressed by expanding the overall number of green cards available, which the bill would do. Moreover, it includes key provisions to protect the diversity of the green card process and minimize the negative repercussions of only removing the country caps. The RELIEF Act does not offer a zero-sum approach that prioritizes one group of immigrants to the exclusion of all others. Moreover, we know that such a formulation can pass, as it is based on the bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013.

The green card backlog is a long-standing, complex problem. The RELIEF Act offers a balanced approach that can fix it faster for everyone in the backlog, unlike H.R. 1044/S. 386. We encourage you to cosponsor the RELIEF Act today and oppose H.R. 1044/S. 386 moving forward.

Sincerely,

18 Million Rising
All of Us
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Justice for Muslims Collective
MPower Change Action Fund
National Iranian American Council Action
Project South
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
United Chinese Americans
United Macedonian Diaspora
United We Dream

A major victory on our work to protect green card diversity

Last week, we scored a major victory on our work to protect the green card process for Iranians and other communities. Recently NIAC Action assembled a coalition of immigrant-advocacy organizations to send a letter to the Senate urging them to oppose H.R.1044/S.386, the so-called “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act.” This bill, if passed, would effectively block many immigrant communities’ paths to a green card⁠—and Iranians would be particularly impacted. 

This bill was on a path to sail through Congress under the radar until NIAC Action and our allies stepped up to stop it.

Last week, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) drew a firm red line against passing this bill in a private letter to the bill’s lead, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). In the letter, Sen. Durbin cited the coalition’s concerns that this bill exasperates the green card backlog and pits one group of immigrants against others to fight over a broken immigration system. Durbin’s letter could prove decisive in winning the battle against this unfair bill.

Now Durbin plans on introducing his own bill that would clear the current backlog by increasing the number of green cards authorized each year; the solution we proposed in our coalition letter.

Unfortunately, proponents of this bill have attacked Sen. Durbin and employed tactics to intimidate Iranians from voicing their concerns—one group has even encouraged their members to report Iranians who publicly oppose the bill to ICE. We will not allow anyone to silence our voices and we will not allow special interests to turn immigrant groups against one another. And now, we are winning.

However, the fight to protect green card diversity is just revving up. We need everyone to support  Durbin’s efforts by make it abundantly clear  that we will not yield, so please call your Senator today and support our campaign to protect green card diversity.
 

📞 Call your Senator

➡️ Donate directly in support of our campaign to protect fair immigration
 

Sen. Durbin cannot be the only senator stepping up and fighting back. Take action today and help us secure the additional Senate allies we need to ensure the immigration system is fair for all.

نامه ائتلاف به مجلس سنای ایالات متحده در مخالفت با لایحه کارت سبز که بر مشکلات می‌افزاید

در هفته جاری، کمیته اقدام نایاک نامه ای را در مخالفت با لایحه H.R. 1044/S.386 برای سناتورهای ایالات متحده هماهنگ و ارسال کرد. امضا کنندگان این نامه بنیاد آمریکائیان عرب‌تبار، شورای روابط آمریکایی/اسلامی، سازمان غیردولتی آمریکائی‌های جنوب آسیائی‌تبار و ۱۱ سازمان دیگر که نمایندگی جوامع مهاجر را بر عهده دارند را شامل می شود. این جوامع در صورت تصویب این لایحه تحت تاثیر آن قرار خواهند گرفت.

چرا ما با لایحه کارت سبز H.R. 1044 مخالفیم؟

این لایحه که به غلط لایحه “انصاف برای مهاجران با مهارت بالا” نام گرفته، در عمل مسیر دستیابی شهروندان ایران و تقریبا ً همه ملل دیگر را به کارت سبز مسدود خواهد کرد. ایرانیان هم اکنون نیز مشمول (دستور) منع سفر هستند و تنها برای یک بار ورود برایشان ویزای آمریکا صادر می شود. بواسطه تصویب این لایحه، مدت انتظار آنها برای دریافت کارت سبز سالها افزوده خواهد شد. در زمانی که دولت کنونی، مهاجران از دیگر کشورها را موجوداتی اهریمنی جلوه می دهد، ما اعتقاد داریم هیج یک از این سیاستهای غیر موثر و مضر، از جمله لایحه H.R.1044 از خلاء ظهور نمی کنند. بهترین راه حل برای کاستن از لیست انتظار طولانی متقاضیان کارت سبز، افزایش عرضه کارت سبز است، نه ایجاد تقابل بین گروه‌های مختلف مهاجر و وادار کردن آنها به رقابت بر سر تعداد محدود کارت سبزهای موجود.

ما چه کاری برای مقابله با این لایحه می‌توانیم انجام دهیم

شهروندان ایرانی و آمریکایی‌های ایرانی‌تبار در حال حاضر از همه جوانب مورد هجوم قرار گرفته‌اند. همراه با سیاست شکست خورده فشار حداکثری به ایران، ایرانی‌ها و آمریکایی‌های ایرانی‌تبار هم به واسطه بررسی شدید تقاضاهای ویزایشان و ممنوعیت ورود مسلمانان در معرض شدیدترین محدودیتها قرار گرفته اند.

کمیته اقدام نایاک توانسته با کسب حمایت شماری از سناتورهای ایالات متحده، از تصویب این لایحه به اتفاق آرا جلوگیری کند. علاوه بر هماهنگ کردن این نامه ائتلاف، ما با همکاری متحدانمان در مجلس نمایندگان و مجلس سنای آمریکا ادامه می دهیم تا از تبدیل شدن این لایحه به قانون جلوگیری کنیم و با بررسی همه راهکارهای ممکن، تضمین کنیم که تنها راه حلی برگزیده شود که به معنای واقعی برای همه متقاضیان مهاجرت به آمریکا منصفانه باشد.

اقدام کنید!

این تلاش به منابع (مالی) نیاز دارد و ما برای پیروز شدن به چالشهای سیاسی که جامعه ما با آن روبه رو است به حمایت شما نیاز داریم. کمک کنید تا راه دستیابی ایرانیان به کارت سبز باز بماند. برای کمک به این تلاش‌ها، شما می توانید با نماینده خود در کنگره تماس بگیرید و با کمک های مالی (به ما) تضمین کنید که منابع لازم را برای متوقف کردن این لایحه در اختیار داشته باشیم.


۲۵ سپتامبر ۲۰۱۹

به: اعضای مجلس سنای ایالات متحده

سناتورهای محترم گرامی،

به عنوان سازمانهای نماینده جوامع مهاجری که بواسطه (تصویب لایحه) H.R. 1044/S 386، موسوم به ” قانون انصاف برای مهاجران با مهارت بالا”، آسیب می بینند ما بدیوسیله مخالفتمان را نسبت به این لایحه اعلام می کنیم. نظر به اینکه این قانون پیشنهادی یکی از ستونهای نظام مهاجرتی ما را حذف خواهد کرد و تبعات جدی در پی خواهد داشت، ما از سناتورها می خواهیم که نگذارند این لایحه به اتفاق آراء در دستور کار مجلس قرار بگیرد.

ما برای درخواستمان دلایل ذیل را داریم:

  •  (1) این لایحه مشکل لیست انتظار متقاضیان را حل نمی کند بلکه صرفا ً مدت انتظار برخی را افزایش خواهد داد و تنوع نژادی را در نظام کارت سبز محدود خواهد کرد.
  •  
  •  (2) این لایحه رویکرد «صفر و یک» دارد که یک گروه از متقاضیان مهاجرت را در مقابل گروه‌های دیگر قرار می‌دهد تا بر سر یک نظام مهاجرت شکست خورده با هم رقابت کنند.
  •  
  •  (3) یک راه حل واقعی با افزایش تعداد کارت سبزهای عطا شده، تنوع نژادی را تضمین می کرد.

ما می پذیریم که حجم قابل توجه تقاضاهای ویزا در نوبت بررسی مایه تاسف است و باید حل شود. اما (لایحه) H.R. 1044/S 386 یک راه حل منصفانه نیست و می تواند مشکلات جدیدی را ایجاد کند، مشکلاتی از قبیل ایجاد انحصار برای یک گروه از متقاضیان و حذف هر نوع تنوع نژادی از این فرایند، آنگونه که وزارت خارجه (آمریکا) بدان اشاره کرده است. ما از سناتورها می خواهیم که نگذارند این لایحه به اتفاق آرا در دستور کار مجلس قرار گیرد و این تلاش غیر سازنده برای حل یک مشکل دیرپا و پیچیده را رد کنند.

با صداقت،

بنیاد آمریکائیان عرب تبار

سازمان روابط عمومی آمریکایی های با تبار جزایر اقیانوس آرام

اتحادیه کارگران آمریکایی های با تبار جزایر اقیانوس آرام

شورای روابط اسلامی آمریکا

شورای فدرال آمریکایی های با تبار جزایر اقیانوس آرام

شورای رهبری دموکراتیک آمریکایی های ایتالیایی تبار

کنسرسیوم آمریکایی های کره ای تبار در بخش خدمات و آموزش

کمیته اقدام شورای ملی آمریکایی های ایرانی تبار

کنسرسیوم ملی آمریکایی های کره ای تبار در بخش خدمات و آموزش

وکلای آمریکایی های با تبار جزایر اقیانوس آرام

کمیته اقدام سیاسی آمریکایی های پاکستانی تبار

پروژه جنوب

آمریکایی های جنوب آسیایی تبار

اتحاد آمریکایی های چینی تبار

اتحاد مهاجران مقدونیه

اتحاد رویای ما

Call Congress: Tell Them to Stop Trump’s Path to War with Iran

This is an emergency. We’ve never been this close to military action against Iran. Now is the time that we must reach out to our members of Congress to make sure they put a check on the warmongering administration. Given the seriousness of the situation, we need to act now, and calling is our most effective option.

Calling your member of Congress is easy, just follow these steps:

1) Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC to reach the Congressional Hotline and ask to be connected to your Representative.

You can find out who your Representative is by clicking here.

2) Follow this script:

“My name is XX and I’m a constituent from YYtown. I’m concerned that we are closer than ever before to a war with Iran, which would be a disaster for the United States, Middle East and people of Iran. What are you doing to make sure that Trump doesn’t launch an unauthorized war?

Don’t have time to make a call? Fill out the action alert below to send an email to your representatives:

Celebrating #TeamZahra on Women’s Equality Day

August 26 marks Women’s Equality Day, a day to celebrate those brave women who fought for, and achieved, much deserved gains in equality since ratifying the 19th Constitutional Amendment. We have gotten as far as we have on gender equality because their courage paved the way for the generations that followed. Their resolve, leadership, and undeniable determination undoubtedly changed for the better America and its future leaders.  

And the momentum hasn’t faltered since. 

On this day, NIAC Action would like to honor another trailblazing woman, Zahra Karinshak. In 2018, Zahra made history on her first day as a State Senator when she was sworn in as Georgia’s first Iranian-American legislator. Soon after her first legislative session began, Zahra became the leading opponent of anti-abortion legislation and co-sponsored legislation to require schools to support young students with dyslexia. 

Zahra, who was endorsed by President Obama and Planned Parenthood in the last cycle, is also a proud U.S. Air Force veteran and federal prosecutor. Making history once again, she is taking her fight for equality to Capitol Hill as the first Iranian-American woman to run for Congress in Georgia’s 7th district. 

Zahra’s commitment to public service knows no bounds as she joins the many women leaders before her whose hard-fought accomplishments have shaped and strengthened our communities and democracy. NIAC Action is proud to have endorsed Zahra Karinshak in her Congressional raceand we can’t wait to see what more she has in store not only for the state of Georgia, but for the entire nation.

Learn more about and support Zahra here.

NIAC Action Commends Lee-Schakowsky-Price Resolution on JCPOA Return

WASHINGTON DC – Moments ago, Reps. Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, and David Price introduced a resolution calling for the United States to return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran deal, from which Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018.

In response, NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:

“Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal has put the U.S. on the brink of war with Iran and threatened to undo the hard won constraints against Iran’s nuclear program. Thankfully, many Members of Congress recognize that there is no military solution to the present crisis, and that the best way to de-escalate is for the U.S. to return to compliance with the nuclear deal. Representatives Lee, Schakowsky and Price should be commended for their years of leadership in advancing peace and diplomacy, including by introducing this important resolution.

“NIAC strongly supports a U.S. return to its JCPOA commitments and first issued a white paper in support of such a move last November. We proudly supported the DNC’s adoption of a resolution committing to return the U.S. to its JCPOA commitments. And we advocated for and welcome the strong majority of Democratic Presidential contenders who have also committed to returning to our diplomatic obligations — including Warren, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, Biden, Gabbard, and O’Rourke.

“There remains strong political will in Congress to restore U.S. credibility and engage Iran diplomatically–despite Trump and Bolton’s push for war. For Members of Congress and Presidential contenders, it is good and important to call out Trump’s dangerous moves that have taken us to the brink of war. Yet, the root cause of this crisis was Donald Trump’s decision to kill a strong nuclear agreement with Iran, which is why signaling support for a return to compliance is so important. The Lee-Schakowsky-Price resolution helps solidify the growing consensus for a JCPOA return while signaling that the window for diplomacy is not shut, nor is the opportunity to restore U.S. credibility with both the international community and the Iranian people.

“We thank Reps. Lee, Schakowsky, and Price for their leadership on this resolution and urge all of those who prefer diplomacy over war to cosponsor it and press for a vote.”

###

Background
The resolution was co-sponsored by Reps. Beyer, Blumenaeur, Cohen, Connolly, Doggett, Eshoo, Gallego, Grijalva, Haaland, Jayapal, Khanna, Levin Andy, Lowenthal, Payne, Jr., Pocan, Raskin, Welch, Yarmuth.

Pro-Diplomacy Organizations: NDAA Conferees Must Honor Bipartisan Majority’s Opposition to Unauthorized War with Iran

As pro-diplomacy organizations that oppose unauthorized war with Iran, we call on the National Defense Authorization Act conferees to retain language supported by a bipartisan majority in both chambers that would prohibit funds for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

The Trump Administration has repeatedly signaled its intent to subvert Congress’ constitutional prerogative to decide when the United States will and will not go to war. The Administration violated and abandoned the agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear activities and engaged in a series of escalations with Iran. While Iran has ratcheted up the tension in recent weeks, the Trump Administration’s provocations and saber rattling have made conflict, not negotiations, more likely.

The question of whether American forces should be put in harm’s way is one of the utmost gravity. The Constitution gives the power of the purse and the power to declare war to Congress, and Congress alone. Congress needs to assert its constitutional powers to prevent decisions about the use of force being made by an administration that has acted with gross recklessness and profoundly weakened key alliances and multilateral partnerships essential to addressing threats from Iran. Any unilateral escalation risks both further alienation and getting mired in another disastrous war in the region.

Bipartisan majorities in both chambers support blocking funds for unauthorized military strikes against Iran. Although the Senate bill did not include this provision, 51 Senators indicated their support for the Kaine-Udall amendment. 251 Representatives voted for the Khanna-Gaetz amendment prohibiting funds from being used for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

Given the bipartisan majority in both chambers supportive of ruling out an unauthorized war with Iran, the conferees must ensure the Khanna-Gaetz amendment is fully included in the final bill.

Failing to honor the will of the American people’s elected representatives on this point, at the very moment the administration is barrelling toward an unauthorized and costly war of choice, would be an undemocratic and historic abdication of constitutional responsibility.

American College of National Security Leaders
Americans for Peace Now
Arab American Institute
Arms Control Association
Center for America Progress
Center for International Policy
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Common Defense
Council for a Livable World
CREDO Action
Demand Progress
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Foreign Policy for America
Global Security Institute
Indivisible
International Crisis Group
J Street
MoveOn
NIAC Action
Open Society Policy Center
Peace Action
Peace Corps Iran Association
Ploughshares Fund
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Truman National Security Project
T’ruah
VoteVets
Union of Concerned Scientists
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions

NIAC Applauds House for Pulling U.S. Back from the Brink of War with Iran via Khanna-Gaetz Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday July 12, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

WASHINGTON DC – Moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan amendment from Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to bar funding for an unauthorized war with Iran. The amendment passed with a final vote count of 251-170. The Khanna-Gaetz amendment was offered as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and builds on the momentum from last month’s Senate vote on the Kaine-Udall amendment, which also would have also blocked the Trump administration from launching an unauthorized war with Iran.

In response to the passage of the Khanna-Gaetz amendment, NIAC Action President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:

“The House of Representatives should be applauded for its vote today to stop an unauthorized war with Iran before it starts, and we call on the Senate to follow suit. With the passage of the amendment from Representatives Ro Khanna and Matt Gaetz, legislators moved one step closer to pulling the U.S. back from the edge of a war that the American people do not want and that Congress has never authorized. With nearly all of the 2020 presidential candidates calling for the U.S. to return to the Iran nuclear deal, and now with the House passing the Khanna-Gaetz amendment, a bipartisan consensus against the Bolton-Pompeo approach to Iran has clearly emerged.

“Such safeguards would not be necessary if the Trump administration were not recklessly endangering American security with its incoherent maximum pressure approach toward Iran. Last month, the President took us ten minutes from war, which would have been certain to trigger Iranian reprisals and a long trail of consequences not confined within Iran’s borders. Both the President and his Secretary of State have intimated that they do not need Congressional approval to launch a war, with many Members of Congress alarmed by the administration’s transparent attempts to justify a war with Iran under the 2001 authorization to use military force.

“The Iranian-American community and the broader American public know that war with Iran would be a disaster. That’s why a majority in the House and Senate now are on the record voting for provisions to rule out an unauthorized war with Iran. It is imperative that legislators ensure that the final defense authorization bill includes the Khanna-Gaetz amendment.

“We applaud Reps. Khanna and Gaetz for their leadership. Without the help of Chairmen Eliot Engel, Adam Smith and Jim McGovern as well as Reps. Anna Eshoo, Seth Moulton, Anthony Brown, Barbara Lee and countless Americans who spoke out against war with Iran, this vote would not have been possible.”

Call Your Members of Congress to Support the Khanna-Gaetz Amendment!

This is an emergency. We’ve never been this close to military action against Iran. Now is the time that we must reach out to our members of Congress to make sure they put a check on the warmongering administration. Given the seriousness of the situation, we need to act now, and calling is our most effective option.

This week, the House will vote on an amendment that would block an unauthorized war with Iran. With your help, we can put a concrete legislative roadblock between Trump and war with Iran.

Calling your House Representative is easy, just follow these steps:

  1. Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC to reach the Congressional Hotline and ask to be connected to your Representative.
    You can find out who your House Representative is by clicking here.
  2. Follow this script:
    “My name is XX and I’m a constituent from YYtown. I’m concerned that we are closer than ever before to a war with Iran, which would be a disaster for the United States, Middle East and people of Iran. I strongly urge the representative to cosponsor and vote for the Khanna-Gaetz amendment to the NDAA to block an Iran war. Will the representative cosponsor and vote for the Khanna-Gaetz amendment?“

 

Don’t have time to make a call? Fill out the action alert below to send an email to your representatives:

 

Call Your Senator: Stop Trump from Starting War with Iran

This is an emergency. We’ve never been this close to military action against Iran. Now is the time that we must reach out to our members of Congress to make sure they put a check on the warmongering administration. Given the seriousness of the situation, we need to act now, and calling is our most effective option.

On Friday, June 27, the Senate will vote on an amendment that would block an unauthorized war with Iran. With your help, we can put a concrete legislative roadblock between Trump and war with Iran.

Calling your Senator is easy, just follow these steps:

1) Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC to reach the Congressional Hotline and ask to be connected to your Senators.

You can find out who your Senators are by clicking here.

2) Follow this script:

“My name is XX and I’m a constituent from YYtown. I’m concerned that we are closer than ever before to a war with Iran, which would be a disaster for the United States, Middle East and people of Iran. I strongly urge the Senator to support the Kaine-Udall-Paul amendment to block an Iran war, and to oppose a vote on the defense authorization if there is no vote. Does the Senator support the Kaine-Udall-Paul amendment?“

 

Don’t have time to make a call? Fill out the action alert below to send an email to your representatives:
 

NIAC Applauds NDAA Amendment Aimed at Blocking Trump’s Path to War

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 25, 2019  
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, an amendment was offered to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would block an unauthorized war against Iran. The amendment, introduced by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has wide support including from the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel and the Chairman of the House Rules Committee Jim McGovern. Many other legislators – including Reps. Anna Eshoo, Andy Levin, Barbara Lee, Seth Moulton and Anthony Brown – who have been champions in the effort to ensure Trump doesn’t lead us into an unauthorized war are already signed on as original cosponsors of the amendment.

In response to the amendment’s introduction, NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:  

“Congress may be all that is standing between Donald Trump and war with Iran. It is crucial that lawmakers summon the wherewithal to act as a co-equal branch of government to stand up against a disastrous war with Iran. 

“The Khanna-Gaetz amendment is a strong response to the growing risks of war with Iran that stem directly from President Trump’s disastrous maximum pressure approach. 

“After nearly two decades of endless war, the American people do not want another reckless war of choice with Iran. Congress must ensure that the defense authorization rules out war with Iran by passing the Khanna-Gaetz amendment in the House, the Udall-Kaine amendment in the Senate and protecting the provisions from pro-war legislators.

“Recent events have only underscored the importance of ruling out an unauthorized war with Iran. Our thin-skinned President lashed out on Twitter this morning in response to a mistranslation of an Iranian statement, and maintains that he does not need Congressional authorization to start a war. Other Members of Congress – including Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton  – have shamefully played defense for Trump’s reckless actions in an attempt to keep the path to war with Iran open.”

Pro-Diplomacy Organizations Call for Vote on Udall Amendment to Prevent an Unauthorized War with Iran

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2019

Americans for Peace Now, Arms Control Association, Council for a Livable World, Foreign Policy for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Indivisible, J Street, MoveOn, NIAC Action, Ploughshares Fund, VoteVets and Win Without War issued the following statement:
 
As pro-diplomacy organizations that oppose unauthorized war with Iran, we call on Senators to support the bipartisan Udall-Kaine amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and make clear that they will vote against cloture to proceed to final passage of the NDAA unless and until the amendment is put to a vote. 
 
Yesterday, President Trump falsely asserted that he has the authority to initiate military action against Iran without first going to Congress. Last week, he nearly ordered unauthorized strikes on Iran that could have led to a major war. After this close call, we are more convinced than ever that the Senate must vote on the Udall-Kaine amendment to the NDAA.
 
Having violated and abandoned the agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear activities and engaged in a series of escalations with Iran, the Trump Administration is now poised to subvert Congress’ constitutional prerogative to decide when the United States will and will not go to war. While Iranian misbehavior has increased in recent weeks, the Trump Administration’s provocations and saber rattling have made conflict, not negotiations, more likely. 
 
The question of whether American forces should be put in harm’s way to strike a country nearly four times the size of Iraq and with more than twice the population is one of the utmost gravity. It must not – and constitutionally cannot – be left to any administration alone, especially one that has acted with gross recklessness and profoundly weakened key alliances and multilateral partnerships essential to addressing threats from Iran. Any unilateral escalation risks both further alienation and getting mired in another disastrous war in the Middle East. 
 
We therefore urge Senators to support and further insist that the bipartisan Udall-Kaine amendment – which would prohibit appropriated funds from being used for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress – receive a vote in the Senate’s present consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act. Senators should make clear that they will vote against cloture to proceed to final passage of the NDAA unless and until the Udall-Kaine amendment is put to a vote. 
 
A no vote on cloture in no way impacts pay or other support for our military personnel. Rather, launching an unnecessary and unauthorized war would do a disservice to our troops and all Americans. 
 
The Trump Administration’s current Iran policy has proven a disaster. If the Senate fails to consider the Udall-Kaine amendment while legislating on defense authorization, at the very moment the administration is barrelling toward an unauthorized and costly war of choice, it would be an historic abdication of constitutional responsibility.
 
Note: This letter was updated on 6/25 to include a recommendation to vote against proceeding to cloture