WASHINGTON, D.C. – As tensions between the United States and Iran escalate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is once again pushing for passage of his war powers resolution in Congress.
Kaine delivered a speech on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, saying the risk of war with Iran has increased, WTKR reports.
“Every member of Congress should vote, and then be accountable for, the question of whether another war in the Middle East is a good idea,” Kaine said.
“If we’re to order our troops and their families to run that risk, then it should be based on a public consensus, as reflected in an open congressional debate and vote, that war is in the national interest. By what right do we consign our troops to possible injury and death if we are unwilling to have a debate and cast a vote ourselves? We cannot hide under our desks, outsource our constitutional duty to any President and pretend that we can avoid accountability for war and its consequences,” he added.
For years, Kaine has pushed for greater congressional oversight over presidential use of military force.
“At this particular moment, with the specter of war so present, it is time for Congress to assert itself. Congress has the responsibility and Congress must act to shoulder its responsibility,” he said during his speech.
In June, Kaine introduced a bipartisan amendment to the national defense bill to prohibit unconstitutional war with Iran.
Meanwhile, Trump is doubling down on his threat to attack Iranian cultural sites if Tehran retaliates against US persons or assets despite the fact that such a move would likely qualify as a war crime.
Several defense officials have told CNN, however, that the US will not strike cultural sites and will only act within international laws.
But State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus would not rule out the possibility in an interview with CNN Monday when pressed as to how the US can even justify the threat of such strikes, which would be war crimes.
“We will do anything within our power to protect American citizens, to protect American lives and we consistently told the Iranian regime any attack that on Americans, any attack that will put Americans in harm’s way, whether it’s from the militias we saw in Iraq or whether it’s regime itself would not go unaccounted for,” Ortagus told CNN’s Becky Anderson.
“So, we will defend ourselves, we will defend our allies, we will defend our people and do anything that’s obviously legally possible for us to do so,” she added.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s comments on targeting Iranian cultural sites but would not provide further clarity, echoing Pompeo that “we will be within the law.”
CNN wire contributed to this article.