House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) announced this afternoon that the House will take up a resolution stopping the White House from engaging in further hostilities against Iran without a vote from Congress.
"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 announcing the pending vote. "Our concerns were not addressed by the President's insufficient War Powers Act notification and by the Administration's briefing today."
The House will be considering a War Powers Resolution introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D–Mich.), sent to its Rules Committee tonight. Pelosi will hold a full House vote Thursday.
The resolution is based on one introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.). Kaine's resolution reads, in part, "Congress hereby directs the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military, by not later than the date that is 30 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force." Read the resolution here.
The resolution is intended to make it clear that the current Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) permitting strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan against terrorists connected to Al Qaeda does not permit President Donald Trump to order military strikes against Iran.
It's good to see Congress asserting its authority over the declaration of war. Billy Binion noted this morning that it's not clear that Republicans are interested in restraining President Donald Trump's actions in Iran, so this all may come to naught in the Senate. Trump's speech earlier today suggests that he's not actually interested in pursuing further escalation, and that might be used by his supporters in the Senate to argue the resolution isn't necessary.
But there are some Republican senators coming forward now to support Kaine's resolution. Sens. Mike Lee (R–Utah) and Rand Paul (R–Ky.) emerged from a briefing for senators this afternoon and announced they'd support the War Powers Resolution. Lee even went so far as to say it was "the worst briefing [he's] seen on a military issue" during his time in the Senate. He was reportedly furious:
Republican senator Mike Lee blasts the Trump administrations post-Iran briefing, says they were told they could not dissent from Trump, couldn't debate it, and if Trump needed justification to go to war "I'm sure we could think of something" pic.twitter.com/bfyPqoSf8c
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 8, 2020
Pelosi also noted that she is considering other bills to restrain our Middle East involvement, adding, "The House may also soon consider additional legislation on the Floor to keep America safe. This legislation includes Congresswoman Barbara Lee's resolution to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and Congressman Ro Khanna's legislation to prohibit funding for military action against Iran not authorized by Congress."