House votes to limit Trump’s ability to launch military operations on Iran

Three Republicans vote in support of resolution

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 09 January 2020 19:04 GMT
Pelosi says Trump 'disdainful' by not consulting with Congress over Soleimani killing

The House of Representatives has voted to limit Donald Trump’s ability wage war against Iran.

In the latest attempt by Democrats on Capitol Hill to rein in what they consider repeated overreach by Mr Trump and the executive branch, the chamber voted 224-194 to assert that the president must seek Congressional approval before carrying out any further action against Tehran.

The vote went almost entirely along party lines, with just three Republicans joining Democrats in passing the measure. In the Senate, Democrats have sought to push through a similar measure – but Republicans there are in the majority.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the measure would “protect American lives and values” by limiting Mr Trump’s military actions.

She added: “The administration must de-escalate and must prevent further violence.”

Earlier, at her weekly press conference, Ms Pelosi accused the administration of being “disdainful” of Congress in the way it had acted over last week’s killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Typically, when presidents take military action against a foreign power, the White House notifies a small number of senior members of both the House and Senate – the so-called gang of eight – in advance. They are sworn to secrecy.

In the case of last week’s killing of Soleimani as he arrived at Baghdad airport, the briefing came several days after the event.

“It was disdainful in terms of not consulting with Congress,” Ms Pelosi said, adding that nothing she had seen from the intelligence briefings led her to believe America was any safer as a result of the military leader’s targeted killing.

The war powers resolution is not binding on the president and would not require his signature. Ms Pelosi claimed it nonetheless had “real teeth because it is a statement of the Congress of the United States”. Eight Democrats opposed the measure.

A similar proposal, tabled by senator Tim Kaine, faces an uphill fight in the Senate. Mr Kaine’s efforts received a boost when Republican senator Todd Young of Indiana, an ex-Marine, said he might support the war powers measure.

Two other Republican senators said on Wednesday that they would back Mr Kaine’s plan.

Additional reporting by agencies

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