Jan 11, 2020 - World

GOP Sen. Mike Lee signs onto Sanders' push to block military funds for Iran

Mike Lee walks down an escalator.

Sen. Mike Lee in March 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) agreed to co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders' "No War Against Iran Act," CNN reports and Sanders confirmed Saturday on Twitter.

What's happening: The legislation seeks to deny funding from the Pentagon for use of military force in Iran, which it calls "unauthorized" in light of Congress not approving the lethal strike on top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

What he's saying: "War, generally speaking, is something we want to avoid," Lee said on Saturday at the Utah Eagle Forum, following the senators' announced partnership on the legislation.

  • "President Donald Trump has, in my view, been more respectful and more restrained in his exercise of his commander-in-chief role than any other president in my lifetime," Lee added on Saturday — couching his criticism of Wednesday's classified briefing on the Soleimani strike, led by Trump's top national security officials.
  • Lee told Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) he would support a war powers resolution which aims to "vote in Congress to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran," if Kaine removed language that criticized Trump, he said Saturday.

Background: Lee called Wednesday's Soleimani briefing the "worst" he's ever seen. He said it was "insulting and demeaning" that briefers instructed senators not to debate the appropriateness of further military action against Iran.

"As United States Senators, we often disagree on many issues. But standing up for the Constitution is not about partisanship. The Founding Fathers were absolutely clear. They wanted to ensure that our country avoided needless conflict and they understood that presidential war-making would be harmful to our democracy."
— the senators' joint Saturday statement to CNN

Go deeper: House passes war powers resolution condemning military action against Iran

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