View Full Version : Thomas Massie explains his vote against H.R. 6297 - Iran Sanctions Extension Act

11-19-2016, 05:35 PM
Congressman Thomas Massie

I voted against the renewal of 1996 sanctions against Iran for several reasons. First, Congress has shirked its constitutional duty to declare war or even debate the authorization of the use of military force. The Executive Branch has filled this vacuum and has unconstitutionally engaged our military in conflicts around the globe for over a decade. But Congress is complicit. Oftentimes the Executive Branch claims authority for war by pointing to the “Whereas” clauses in congressionally authorized sanctions bills. In fact, the bill I voted against this week was originally passed in 1996 and accuses both Libya and Iran of trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Under Obama and Hillary, the Executive Branch went on to make war in Libya while Congress did nothing, having already “justified” the war in this very bill. Because Congress has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to debate and declare war, this vote may be the vote that effectively obligates the men and women of our military to war.

There was also a Syria sanctions bill that passed by voice vote this week. If it had received a recorded vote, I would have voted “no” on Syria sanctions, too, for the same reasons.

In addition, this Iran sanctions bill—like the vast majority of foreign affairs-related bills Congress passes—cites United Nations resolutions as justification for action by the United States. I cannot support legitimizing the United Nations in this way, ceding our national sovereignty to an unaccountable international organization.


Roll call vote:

11-19-2016, 05:46 PM
Surprised Amash didn't vote with him.