Support HR1004: The Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Act

Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Just Foreign Policy:

March 13th, 2019

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

We write to request your support for the bipartisan measure, H.R.1004 – Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Act, introduced by Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island. We respectfully ask that any floor consideration of legislation addressing the crisis in Venezuela include H.R. 1004, a critical safeguard against unconstitutional U.S. military action. The newly elected Democratic majority of the House of Representatives must make explicit in its first step of developing and adopting legislation on Venezuela that the Congress will serve as an effective counterweight to the militaristic and anti-refugee policies of the Trump Administration.

As you know, US officials in charge of policy toward Venezuela, such as Elliott Abrams, have pursued a strategy of provocation and confrontation. President Trump has publicly declared that all options, including US military force, are on the table. Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe recounted that in 2017, President Trump argued that Venezuela is the “country we should be going to war with. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton has publicly stated that “in this administration, we’re not afraid to use the word Monroe Doctrine,” has clutched documents referring to a proposal to deploy “5,000 troops to Colombia,” and has argued that “it will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” Secretary Pompeo explicitly endorsed regime change in a recent statement: “No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro.”

Senator Marco Rubio, in turn, is widely reported to be Trump’s “Shadow Secretary of State” on Latin America and “Ouster in Chief” for Venezuela. Rubio’s open efforts to stoke conflict prompted Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to scuttle bipartisan Venezuela-related legislation due to an impasse with Senator Rubio over Senator Menendez’s attempts to insert a clause prohibiting unauthorized use of force.

We applaud your leadership as Speaker of the House in reasserting Congress’s sole authority over war and peace under Article I of the Constitution to bring an end to the unauthorized U.S.-Saudi military campaign in Yemen, including the historic passage of H.J.Res. 37, which, like Cicilline’s H.R. 1004, invokes the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

We ask for your commitment in ensuring that Congressional war powers be unequivocally exercised, without delay or hesitation, in the case of Venezuela through House adoption of H.R. 1004. Administration officials and members of Congress who seek to involve the United States in military action to overthrow the government of Venezuela have a constitutional obligation to present their case to…

Read more