The House of Representatives voted 224 to 194 on Thursday to limit the Trump administration’s ability to carry out military attacks on Iran without congressional authorization. It was a mostly party-lines vote.
The resolution directed Trump to “terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in and against Iran.” It noted that while Iran is a “leading state sponsor of terrorism” and Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was “lead architect of much of Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the world,” the war powers resolution “requires the President to consult with Congress ‘in every possible instance’ before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities.”
It also reminded Trump that “Congress has not authorized military force against Iran.” Trump did not notify Democratic members of Congress prior to killing Soleimani, later suggesting they could not be trusted.
Under the resolution, Trump could continue to use the military against Iran if given congressional authorization or it was needed to prevent an “imminent armed attack” on the nation, its lands, or its military. The administration has claimed it acted to prevent an imminent attack, but has offered little evidence beyond telling Congress to trust them.
The resolution’s lead sponsor, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), explained that her measure aims to “make it clear that if the President wants to take us to war, he must get authorization from Congress.”
“If our loved ones are going to fight any protracted war, the President owes the American people a public conversation,” she said Thursday.
Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) told his colleagues during floor debate that it was merely “a partisan exercise that can be used as propagand” by Iran.
Like hundreds of other pieces of House-passed legislation, the resolution faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is sponsoring a similar resolution, but it would require significant Republican support to pass.
Unlike bills, this resolution would not require Trump’s signature if it passed both chambers, but the courts have not determined whether such a war powers resolution would be binding.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.