By EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
U.S. House of Representatives
This country does not need to be fighting another senseless war in the Middle East, such as the one that has kept our military forces in Iraq for the past 16 years.
That is precisely why my colleagues and I in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives recently voted to limit the president’s ability to unilaterally declare military action against a country such as Iran. One that the president recently ordered American forces to attack, and then rescinded his command.
Diplomats and military officials with expertise in Middle East policy believe that a conflict with Iran would create a regional disaster, with serious disruptive economic and social consequences for American allies in the area, along with neighboring areas such as Africa and Europe. These experts also believe that countless American lives would be lost needlessly.
While passing the National Defense Authorization Act, a $733 billion bill, members of the House specifically included a provision that would restrain the president’s ability to order an attack on the Iranian people and their government without first receiving permission from Congress. Twenty-seven Republican members of the House voted to approve the provision along with the overwhelming majority of Democrats.
One only has to recall the invasion of Iraq by a war-hungry Republican administration some years ago, only later discovering that the evidence that it relied upon to go to war was false.
Notably, the legislation won the enthusiastic support of left-of-center, center and right-of-center elected officials and influential advocacy groups. Conservative-oriented groups, such as Concerned Veterans for America and FreedomWorks, were among its backers, as was the fiercely left-of-center organization Indivisible.
Additionally, the legislation included an amendment denying the administration’s wish to use military funds in support of Saudi Arabia, which has been engaged in a 3-year-old war in Yemen that institutions such as the United Nations have characterized as immoral.
The bill also includes an amendment that would allow transgender military men and women to serve as members of our armed services. It directly challenges the Trump administration’s policy of barring these brave men and women from serving their country.
Also included in the bill is a 3% pay increase for members of the military.
Those of you who have followed my programs in the 30th Congressional District are aware of my Women for World Peace Conference that I convene annually. There, women from around the world gather to profess the importance of working toward a peaceful world, understanding that war only leads to horrific pain and suffering.
Our recent action in the House of Representatives is an attempt to create a more peaceful world, one in which conflict is resolved through dialogue, mutual understanding and respect.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. She also chairs the House committee on Science, Space and Technology.