(January 10, 2020 / JNS) The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday to curb U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to enact future U.S. military action against Iran without congressional approval.
The tally was 224-194, with three Republicans voting in favor and eight Democrats voting against.
The nonbinding resolution, introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), instructs Trump “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military,” unless Congress declares war or there is “an imminent armed attack upon the United States.”
The measure came in the aftermath of early-morning strikes on Wednesday by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) hitting the Ain Al-Asad and Irbil air bases in western Iraq, which also house U.S. soldiers. It came in retaliation for the U.S. killing of IRGC Quds Force Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport on Jan. 3.
Members of Congress received an intelligence briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the latest surrounding Iraq and Iran. It was conducted by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
“The vast majority of people walked out of that briefing more convinced than ever that killing Soleimani was the right decision,” a Republican aide told JNS.
In the Senate, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed support for a War Powers Resolution introduced last week by Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Because the resolution is privileged, the Senate would be forced to debate and vote on the measure, which doesn’t prevent the United States defending itself from an imminent attack.
After the briefing, Lee called it “probably the worst briefing I have seen, at least on a military issue, in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.”
“What I found so distressing about the briefing is one of the messages we received from the briefers was, ‘Do not debate, do not discuss the issue of the appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran,’ and that if you do ‘You will be emboldening Iran,’ ” said Lee.
He declined to specify which briefer he was referring to.
“The implication being that somehow we would be making America less safe by having a debate or a discussion about the appropriateness of further military involvement against the government of Iran,” he said. “Now, I find this insulting and demeaning—not personally, but to the office that each of the 100 persons in this building happens to hold.”
Assuming all 47 Democrats, along with Lee and Paul, vote for the resolution, two more senators would be needed to reach the necessary 51 votes to pass the resolution, as 50 votes would likely result in a tiebreak that would cause U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to vote against the measure.
In related news, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a resolution on Thursday that praises the U.S. killing of Soleimani.
JUST INTRODUCED w 42 fellow GOP senators resolution to honor members of military & intel community who carried out mission to take out Soleimani, a terrorist responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people across the Middle East, including 603 US service members. pic.twitter.com/1XNgXHFO3z
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 9, 2020
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