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In speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray outlined her principles for weighing decisions of war, made clear that President Trump must come to Congress for authorization before further escalating tension with Iran

Senator Murray also demanded the Trump Administration come to Congress to provide its legal justification for the U.S. airstrikes that lead to the death of Qasem Soleimani

Senator Murray: “Congress has the power to ensure a debate, press this Administration for a strategy, and check its power if they don’t present a compelling one. It’s well past time we used it”

ICYMI from earlier this week – Senator Murray: “I am gravely concerned this President’s escalatory actions jeopardize American servicemembers, allies, and interests and could put us on a path to deeper, sustained engagement” – More HERE

***VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S SPEECH AVAILABLE HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, following President Trump’s address to the nation in response to yesterday’s retaliatory missile strikes in Iraq, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) called on President Trump to provide Congress legal justification for his provocative military actions thus far against Iran, and demanded the President seek congressional approval before taking any more escalatory steps in the region. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray, the daughter of a WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient, also laid out her principles for weighing decisions involving national security and foreign policy, as well as her thoughts on what Congress must do to reassert Congressional authority in decisions of war.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“In a matter of days, the President of the United States has—without any authorization or notice—taken steps that have sent tensions soaring with Iran, threatened the fight against ISIS, jeopardized relationships with key allies, risked the safety of U.S. servicemembers and civilians, and brought us perilously close to war.”

“While I firmly believe we must do everything possible to keep America safe and go after terrorists wherever they are, I also believe that except in the most dire of circumstances, we should do everything possible to exhaust all of our diplomatic avenues and coordinate with our allies and our partners before taking military action all on our own.”

“President Trump’s repeated reckless actions in the region—beginning with his decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal—have jeopardized critical objectives, leaving us without any clear strategy for restoring peace or protecting our troops and allies. We cannot assume Iran is done retaliating—and we must assume ISIS or other terrorists will take full advantage of the increased instability in the region.”

“I voted against the war in Iraq because I felt the Administration was asking us to send our brave men and women into harm’s way without clear plans or goals. Today, the President isn’t even asking. The goals and plans are even less clear—and the path ahead is very uncertain. Congress has the power to ensure a debate, press this Administration for a strategy, and check its power if they don’t present a compelling one.  It’s well past time we used it.”

Watch Senator Murray’s speech HERE:

Read the full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Thank you, M. President.

“I first want to say how relieved I am by reports that no lives were lost in last night’s missile strikes in Iraq, and how grateful I am for all those serving in the region and around the world.

“The fact remains, however, that this is a volatile and frightening moment for our country.

“In a matter of days, the President of the United States has—without any authorization or notice—taken steps that have sent tensions soaring with Iran, threatened the fight against ISIS, jeopardized relationships with key allies, risked the safety of U.S. servicemembers and civilians, and brought us perilously close to war.

“I’ve heard from so many people in my home state of Washington—and I know my colleagues have as well—about just how scary and uncertain this feels and the many questions it raises.

“While there’s no question Qasem Soleimani was a sworn enemy of the United States, people want to know whether the President’s initial order was truly necessary to our safety and why right now, in this time of already heightened tensions in the Middle East?

“They want to know elected officials in the nation’s capital are prioritizing their safety and our country’s safety.

“And most of all—they want to know what comes next and what can be done to prevent things from getting worse.

“Like so many Americans, M. President, I’ve watched these events unfold with increasing concern.

“As the daughter of a WWII veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, I make decisions about the safety and security of our nation with deep concern for our brave servicemembers and their families, a personal understanding of the sacrifices they make for all of us and our nation, and an unwavering commitment to ensuring they have the support they need while they serve and when they come home.

“To that end, while I firmly believe we must do everything possible to keep America safe and go after terrorists wherever they are, I also believe that except in the most dire of circumstances, we should do everything possible to exhaust all of our diplomatic avenues and coordinate with our allies and our partners before taking military action all on our own.

“I believe we should not enter a conflict without a strong understanding of what we are trying to accomplish and what it will cost, and that while America has every right to defend itself, striking another country preemptively—without the strongest evidence of immediate danger—is a dramatic step with significant long-term implications that should not be done without a full debate and Congressional support.

“M. President—based on what we know now, the Administration’s action in Iraq failed on each of these counts.

“It has not made us safer, and our allies feel blindsided—especially because this strike puts them at risk, too.

“There is no clear goal—or clear-eyed understanding of the risks we have assumed.

“There was absolutely zero debate here in this Congress, and unless you happened to be on the golf course with the President, absolutely no notification that he planned to massively escalate tensions with a foreign power overnight.

“M. President, while unfortunately this is exactly the type of scenario many of us feared would arise under this President—I can’t say it is surprising.

“President Trump’s repeated reckless actions in the region—beginning with his decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal—have jeopardized critical objectives, leaving us without any clear strategy for restoring peace or protecting our troops and allies.

“We cannot assume Iran is done retaliating—and we must assume ISIS or other terrorists will take full advantage of the increased instability in the region.

“In the face of challenges as serious as these, none of us in Congress, regardless of party, should be willing to just stand by and accept that our nation’s foreign policy and safety could be upended by an impulsive, late-night tweet.

“I certainly won’t.

“Instead I will continue to demand the President provide his legal justification for his order, commit to coming before Congress in advance of any further escalating steps as this now plays out, and explain how he will manage the consequences of his decision with the goal of protecting Americans, our allies, and our interests.

“I will continue to advocate for strategies that lead us toward safety and security, rather than fan the flames.

“And M. President, in the coming weeks I also look forward to voting in support of my colleague from Virginia, Senator Kaine’s war powers resolution, and I’m very glad to be a cosponsor.

“This resolution would reassert Congressional authority, block President Trump’s ability to start a war with Iran, and allow us to hear whatever case he may have before taking a vote on whether this is really the path we want our nation to go down.

“I hope every one of my colleagues listens to the people across this country who do not want us to find ourselves in an avoidable war, who sent us here to act as an independent branch of government—not a rubber stamp for an increasingly volatile Administration—and I hope they join us to support this resolution.

“M. President, finally, I will say that I voted against the war in Iraq because I felt the Administration was asking us to send our brave men and women into harm’s way without clear plans or goals.

“Today, the President isn’t even asking.

“The goals and plans are even less clear—and the path ahead is very uncertain.

“Congress has the power to ensure a debate, press this Administration for a strategy, and check its power if they don’t present a compelling one. 

“It’s well past time we used it.

“Thank you, and I yield the floor.”

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