Senator blocks sanctions bill saying it could be used as a means to go to war
March 28, 2012
Rand Paul has effectively single handedly blocked a bi-partisan bill to place yet more crippling economic sanctions on Iran, by demanding an amendment to prevent the White House using the legislation as an authorization to attack the country.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wanted to immediately pass the sanctions bill by unanimous consent Tuesday. However, Paul intervened and blocked it, in order to ensure that unauthorized use of military force against Iran does not transpire.
Paul’s one sentence amendment reads: “To clarify that nothing in the Act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran or Syria.”
“Our Founding Fathers were quite concerned about giving the power declare war to the Executive,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “They were quite concerned that the Executive could become like a king.”
“Before sending our young men and women into combat, we should have a mature and thoughtful debate over the ramifications of and over the authorization of war and over the motives of the war,” he added.
Paul noted that in the lead up to the NATO led conflict in Libya, several Senators, including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), were beating the war drums. The Kentucky Senator warned that the same rhetoric is now being used in relation to Iran and Syria.
“Many in this body cannot get boots on ground fast enough in a variety of places, from Syria to Libya to Iran,” said Paul. “[I] urge that we not begin a new war without a full debate, without a vote, without careful consideration of the ramifications of a third or even a fourth war in this past decade.”
Watch Rand Paul address the Senate:
The bill, S. 2101, aims to level broad sanctions at Iran and any persons and firms who supply Iran with technologies. Under the legislation, firms traded on the US stock exchanges must disclose any Iran-related activities and could have their assets frozen.
The legislation passed through the Senate banking committee in February, and was also passed in the House.
Reid said he opposed Paul’s request for the amendment, claiming that the sanctions bill had nothing to do with war and could even help prevent conflict by “preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, threatening Israel and further terrorizing other parts of the world.”
“I really am terribly disappointed,” said Reid. “There is nothing in the resolution that talks about war, in fact it’s to the contrary. This is not a declaration of war or anything in the neighborhood of that.”
Reid now has to formally decide whether to cut a deal by allowing Paul’s amendment to be considered, or to attempt to defeat the senator’s objection by obtaining 60 votes in his favor.
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