War Powers Resolution passes U.S. House
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday in an attempt to limit President Donald Trump’s power over future military actions with Iran.
The vote comes after a violent and deadly week in the Middle East.
This War Powers Resolution is a non-binding resolution. The legislation essentially puts the White House on notice from the majority of House lawmakers who say the Constitution requires Trump to notify Congress before taking any further action against Iran. This continues a decades-long political battle arguing that Congress has the power to declare war and not the executive branch; all the while, Congress has ceded its war powers of the years. Most notably, Congress approved The Authorization of Use for Military Force in 2001 and 2002 following the September 11th attacks.
“We are restricting this administration’s ability to wage an illegal an unconstitutional war against Iran,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who voted for the resolution.
“I’m a firm believer that we need to go on-record in Congress on whether or not to authorize our men and women being placed in harm’s way,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), who voted against the resolution.
The House approved the War Powers Resolution largely on party lines. Notable defections include Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) who sided with the Democrats, and Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), a combat veteran, who sided with Republicans.
The vote comes just two days after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi airbases housing U.S. troops. Iran responded to the U.S. killing a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani. The Trump administration believes Iran was tied to the deadly attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad just days before Soleimani’s death. The 9/11-era AUMF is the Trump administration's defense for the deadly strike killed Soleimani.
Most Trump allies on Capitol Hill voted against the resolution in what was the first major roll call vote of the new year in the House.
“The fact that (Soleimani) is no longer alive and planning all of these attacks that somehow the world is in a worse place, it’s in a much safer place than it was before,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).
The non-binding resolution, meaning it has no legal authority and will not go onto the president for approval. But it’s a strong sign, especially from Democrats, that they want a seat at the table if the president continues military operations against Iran.
“This is something that Congress should have taken action on quite some time ago,” Gabbard said.
The Senate is still drafting their version of a War Powers Resolution.