House Passes Pelosi-Led Resolution Curtailing Trump’s War Powers against Iran

House Speaker House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a media briefing ahead of the House vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, October 31, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The House of Representatives voted largely along party lines Thursday to pass a non-binding resolution aimed at limiting President Trump’s war powers against Iran.

In a vote of 224-194, the House passed the resolution, with nine Democrats and four Republicans not voting.

Eight Democrats, including Max Rose of New York, broke caucus ranks to oppose the resolution. On the Republican side, three Republicans voted to support it, with Florida Representative Matt Gaetz saying in the buildup to the vote that while he supported Trump’s decision to kill Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, “engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision.”

Lone Independent and former Republican Justin Amash voted to pass the resolution.

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Ahead of the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Ca.) said it was “disdainful” that the White House did not alert Congress before the strike.

Trump defended his actions on Twitter and called Pelosi “crazy.” He also said “I fully agree” with former adviser John Bolton, who called the 1973 War Powers Resolution “unconstitutional.”

Pelosi announced the legislation in a statement Sunday, saying the airstrike was “provocative and disproportionate.”

Pelosi tasked freshman Democrat and former CIA analyst Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.) to draft the legislation, which aimed to reestablish “Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days.”

Appearing in different interviews in the buildup to the resolution, Slotkin appeared to give conflicting responses on the approach to Soleimani by past administrations.

Slotkin told Fox News that “both the Bush administration and the Obama administration hadn’t thought about going after Mr. Soleimani,” but then told Morning Joe that “we had those conversations in both the Bush and the Obama administration, and what always kept us from moving forward and having the conversation at a serious level was the expected response.”

Slotkin was also unclear about her stance on war with Iran, saying that “we just need to know the underlying intelligence that was there,” but that “if we are under imminent threat, we should go.”

Following a classified briefing Wednesday in which the administration answered questions on the intelligence which led the White House to classify Soleimani’s killing as taking out an “imminent threat,” Pelosi said the House would move forward with the resolution.

“Members of Congress have serious, urgent concerns about the administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran and about its lack of strategy moving forward,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Our concerns were not addressed by the president’s insufficient War Powers Act notification and by the administration’s briefing today.”

Republican senators were also alarmed with the briefing, with Mike Lee of Utah calling it “probably the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a military issues, in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate,” and Rand Paul claiming the White House said it was justified by “something that Congress gave them permission to do in 2002.”

“That is absurd, that’s an insult,” Paul stated.

Both men said they would support a separate war-powers resolution proposed by Democratic senator Tim Kaine, with Democrats needing at least four votes from the Republican majority in the Senate to pass the resolution.

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