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Clinton Announces Co-Sponsorship of Webb Legislation Prohibiting Use of Funds for Military Operations in Iran

by Pamela Leavey

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced today that she is co-sponsoring the legislation introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) back in March, that prohibits the use of funds for military operations against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization (S. 759). Taylor Marsh scooped the news of Clinton’s move to co-sponsor Webb’s legislation, noting that Cllinton took a lot of “heat” for her vote on the Lieberman-Kyl legislation.

But Clinton understands what happened with the Iraq authorization bill, at the same time she believes Iran’s Revolutionary Guards is a terrorist organization. She obviously also wants to send a message to Bush as well. Joining Webb in co-sponsoring this legislation is critically important and a progressive move.

In a press release sent out to bloggers via Peter Daou, Clinton’s netroots coordinator, Senator Clinton, who has been at the forefront of calling on President Bush to seek authorization from Congress before taking military action against Iran, said:

“In February, I took to the Senate floor to warn that President Bush needs Congressional Authorization before attacking Iran. Given recent reports about Administration military planning toward Iran and to ensure that Congress plays a proper role in the authorization of any potential military force, today I have added myself as a co-sponsor of a bill introduced by Senator Jim Webb which prohibits the use of funds for military action in Iran without authorization by Congress.”

Clinton added:

“Iran has gained expanded influence in Iraq and the region as a result of the Bush Administration’s polices which have also rejected diplomacy as a tool for addressing Iranian ambitions. I continue to support and advocate for a policy of entering into talks with Iran, because robust diplomacy is a prerequisite to achieving our aims. I also support strong economic sanctions against Iran, including designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, to improve our leverage with the Iranian regime.”

“Any military action against Iran will have an immediate impact on our troops serving in Iraq, our allies in the region as well as long term U.S. strategic interests. Senator Webb’s legislation insures that Congress will play its constitutional role of providing proper oversight over the Administration’s policy toward Iran. Congressional oversight and debate can help avoid the mistakes and blunders that have afflicted U.S. policy in Iraq. We cannot allow recent history to repeat itself.”

Steve Clemons weighs in:

It is essential that the Senate pass a resolution that claws back its Congressional prerogatives to declare war (or not) from the White House and not allow the Executive Branch the ability to further expand the current horrific mess in the Middle East.

Hillary Clinton needs to apply her ascending political weight to the passage of the Webb resolution. It is not enough to just support a resolution and watch it languish. This is a measure that needs to be passed and sent to the White House to rob legitimacy from any conflict Cheney and his followers might engineer in the waning days of this administration.

As Clinton works to pass the Webb resolution, she needs to articulate what mix of incentives and disincentives should be on the table in the kind of direct US-Iran negotiations she has called for.

Clemons is right. Hillary needs to put the pressure on her peers in the Senate and get this legislation passed. It’s critical.

One Response to “Clinton Announces Co-Sponsorship of Webb Legislation Prohibiting Use of Funds for Military Operations in Iran”

  1. Every creative mind on Capitol Hill needs to be harnessed to writing various types of restrictions on the ability of Bush to use military force against Iran so that we can be sure to end up with a total package that is ironclad. And then they should just line them all up for a day of voting in which, one after the other, they would be approved by large bi-partisan majorities.

    (I’m not sure I’ll be holding my breath.)