Democrat wants House to ‘immediately’ return to diffuse North Korea threat

Democrat wants House to ‘immediately’ return to diffuse North Korea threat
© Greg Nash

A Democratic lawmaker is calling on Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWhy the rush to condemn a carbon tax? House votes to go to conference on farm bill House backs resolution expressing support for ICE MORE (R-Wis.) to "immediately" reconvene the House in the face of escalating tension between the U.S. and North Korea.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) told Ryan in a letter on Friday that the House must act immediately to prohibit President Trump from ordering a preemptive nuclear strike without congressional authorization.

"In light of the ongoing standoff between the United States and North Korea, as well as President Trump's reckless words," Cicilline wrote, "I ask that you immediately call the House of Representatives back into session to debate legislation prohibiting the U.S. from conducting a preemptive nuclear strike without prior congressional authorization."

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Cicilline, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, accused the president of making "a dangerous situation even worse" in the Korean Peninsula with his promise that North Korea would face "fire and fury" if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

"It is critical that the Trump administration exhaust all diplomatic options before resorting to military force. Instead, President Trump has made a dangerous situation even worse," he said.

"The president's words matter. And in this case, his words have been harmful," he continued.

Trump toughened his rhetoric against North Korea on Thursday, warning that his promise of "fire and fury" might not have been "tough enough."

“Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement, was it too tough? Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” he told reporters Thursday. Members of both parties have questioned Trump's tone. 

Cicilline told Ryan in his letter that Congress has an obligation to de-escalate the situation before nuclear war erupts.

"Millions of Americans live within range of North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles," Cicilline wrote. "If the president will not diffuse this situation, then Congress must."