NIAC Statement on Senate Vote on Udall-Kaine Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 28, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

WASHINGTON DC – Today, the Senate voted on a bipartisan amendment spearheaded by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) that would block President Donald Trump from using funds from the defense bill to launch a war with Iran without Congressional authorization. The amendment received 50 votes in favor to just 40 opposed, but fell short of the 60 vote threshold set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who opposed the amendment. 

In response, NIAC Action Executive Director, Jamal Abdi, issued the following statement:

“We applaud the majority of the Senate that supported today’s amendment to shut down an unauthorized war with Iran. Senators Udall and Kaine deserve particular credit for forcing a vote and convincing a majority of the Senate to go on record against a march to war with Iran. 

“The depths to which McConnell and his allies like Tom Cotton went to oppose this amendment and vote against Congress’ own Constitutional power to declare war is deeply concerning. Voters did not elect Trump king so that he could send our troops into harm’s way whenever he felt like it. Yet, the vast majority of Republicans are either so cowed by Trump or eager for war that they decided to play defense for him. Critically, if not for Mitch McConnell, there could have been a straight up and down vote that inserted this amendment into the defense authorization bill ahead of the House. 

“It is a dereliction of duty for those Senators to have looked at the past several weeks and done nothing. Trump and his deputy Bolton have routinely threatened Iran, taken major provocative steps designed to trigger Iranian reprisals, and barely stepped back from the edge of starting a major war with Iran. 

“Every single Democrat who cast a vote supported the amendment, and four Republicans – Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Susan Collins, and Jerry Moran – made clear through their votes that President Trump does not have authorization for war against Iran. The Iranian-American community, our allies, and all pro-peace and diplomacy advocates should take heart that there is a strong, bipartisan group of lawmakers determined to block an unauthorized Trump war on Iran. Yet, far more is needed.

“Critically, by securing majority support, this has now built momentum for the House of Representatives to pass its own bipartisan Khanna-Gaetz amendment to restrict Trump’s ability to start a war with Iran when Congress returns from the July 4th recess and resumes consideration of its defense authorization bill.”

Attention: California Voters

The California Statewide Primaries are coming on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. With so many issues facing our community at stake, it’s important now more than ever that we turn out and VOTE! The Iranian-American community is grossly underrepresented in politics. If we want elected officials that represent the interests of our community, we need to get our voices heard at the polls. Ultimately, every vote cast can help deliver our message to Congress.

To have your voice heard in the primaries on Tuesday, June 5th, here is what you need to know to vote:

  • Make certain you are registered to vote. You can check your voter registration status and find your polling location at https://www.niacaction.org/beshkan/
    • In addition, same day voter registration, which was recently legalized in the State of California, allows any qualified resident of the state to go to register to vote and cast a ballot all in that day; all that is required is proof of residency and valid government ID
  • The address of your polling place is on the back page of the sample ballot booklet that your county elections official mailed to you. If you do not have the booklet, contact your county elections office. You can also check your polling location at https://www.niacaction.org/beshkan/
    • If you live in the Counties of Sacramento, San Mateo, Napa, Nevada, or Madera, scroll to the end of this page to see how the Voter’s Choice Act has changed how you can vote this year.  
  • In most cases, California voters are not required to show identification at their polling place. However, it is a good idea to bring identification with you when you vote for the first time.
  • Even if your name is not on the voter list at the polling place, you have the right to vote with a provisional ballot.
  • Voting is open from 7 AM – 8 PM on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 across the State of California.

If you live in the Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, or San Mateo counties, big changes are coming to your electoral districts:

  • You have three ways to cast your ballot: vote by mail, ballot drop box, and vote centers.
  • You can vote in person by visiting any vote center in your county.
  • All centers will be open at least four days before the election, and some vote centers will be open 11 days prior to the election.

Madero (PDF)

Napa (PDF)

Nevada (PDF)

Sacramento (PDF)

San Mateo (PDF)

More information can be found at https://voterschoice.org/

NIAC Action Statement on Confirmation of Pompeo

Washington, DC – NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after the US Senate voted to confirm Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo:

“The Senate has made a mistake of historic proportions by rubber stamping Donald Trump’s war cabinet. The U.S. appears headed towards a catastrophic exit from the Iran deal in spite of the pleas of our closest allies and Mike Pompeo will only encourage Trump off the brink. Along with National Security Advisor John Bolton, Trump will now be surrounded by advisors eager to finish scrapping the deal, alienating our allies, and beginning a major destabilization in the region that could likely lead to war with Iran. Pompeo has proven he has no interest for diplomatic solutions with Iran and, like Bolton, favors a violent U.S.-led regime change.

“The Senate failed to put country over party and every Senator who voted for Pompeo is responsible for what comes next. We are disappointed in Republicans and Democrats who continue to fail to reign in this reckless President. While the GOP is acting as Trump’s rubber stamp, even the Senate’s Democratic leadership failed to take necessary actions to stop Pompeo.

“A majority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did recognize the unique danger of Pompeo and nearly sunk his nomination before Senator Rand Paul flipped his vote. Having failed to block Pompeo, every member of Congress who claimed to have concerns with Pompeo’s hawkish inclinations is now accountable to take immediate action to stop an escalation and war in the Middle East. Congress must restrain Trump and prevent his war cabinet from withdrawing from the nuclear deal and starting a new, disastrous war of choice in the Middle East.

“Qualified Secretaries of State are usually confirmed with almost unanimous support. Pompeo owes his divisive nomination to his own poor judgment. He has beat the drums of war with Iran and stigmatized Muslims, immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, and anyone who did not fit into his narrow and bigoted vision for America. While we hope that the responsibility of the office changes him for the better, he has failed to face significant consequences for his divisive past and is unlikely to change in the future.”

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