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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5543 (House Amendment to Senate Amendment to H.R. 550) - No War Against Iran Act

January 27, 2020


(House Rules)
(Rep. Khanna, D-CA, and 93 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes passage of H.R. 5543, which would prohibit Federal funds from being used to pay for military force in or against Iran and could endanger the President's ability to defend United States forces and interests in the region against ongoing threats from Iran and its proxies.

Iran has a long history of attacking United States and Coalition forces both directly and through its proxies, including, most recently, in a January 7 missile attack from Iran against United States forces stationed at two bases in Iraq. Over the last several months, Iran, acting through Qassem Soleimani and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, planned and supported a series of escalating attacks by Iranian-directed Shia militia groups on Coalition bases throughout Iraq. These attacks included the December 27, 2019, assault on an Iraqi military base, which resulted in the death of a United States citizen and badly wounded four United States service members, as well as the subsequent storming of the United States Embassy in Baghdad.

Following the successful United States action to eliminate Soleimani from the battlefield on January 2 and Iran's retaliatory ballistic missile attack, Iran may be refraining from further aggression. This legislation would undermine the Administration's reestablishment of deterrence with Iran, which could perversely make violent conflict with Iran more likely.

Additionally, H.R. 5543 would hinder the President's ability to protect United States diplomats, forces, and interests in the region from the continued threat posed by Iran and its proxies. Specifically, H.R. 5543's express bar on the obligation or expenditure of any funds for any use of military force against Iran absent a prior authorization by Congress could interfere with the President's ability to protect United States interests in the region, including the ability to protect United States citizens and allies and partners, including Israel.

H.R. 5543 also presents Constitutional concerns because it seeks to limit the President's authority as Commander in Chief to direct forces to engage in hostilities of limited nature, scope, and duration in order to protect important national interests, including the defense of the nation and its forces against imminent threats. See U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, cl. 1.

This bill is misguided, and its adoption by Congress could undermine the ability of the President to protect American citizens, whom Iran continues to try to harm. It would embolden the Iranian regime and make the world less safe, and less secure.

If H.R. 5543 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend he veto it.

Donald J. Trump, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5543 (House Amendment to Senate Amendment to H.R. 550) - No War Against Iran Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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