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Progressives push for votes to block funding for war against Iran

Progressives push for votes to block funding for war against Iran
© Aaron Schwartz

House progressives on Tuesday called for votes on legislation to block funding for military action against Iran and on repealing the 2002 authorization of military force that would go beyond an expected vote this week to limit President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE's actions in the country.

Freshman Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinDemocrats move smaller immigration bills while eyeing broad overhaul On The Money: Biden celebrates relief bill with Democratic leaders | Democrats debate fast-track for infrastructure package Democrats debate fast-track for infrastructure package MORE (D-Mich.), a former CIA and Pentagon analyst who served multiple tours in Iraq and represents a competitive district, is expected to lead a still-unreleased resolution stating that the Trump administration's military hostilities with Iran must cease within 30 days if no further congressional action is taken.

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are expected to back that resolution but are also pushing for votes on additional bills to restrict the Trump administration's actions against Iran following an airstrike last week that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus called for "immediate floor action" on two other measures.

One from Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaBiden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Sanders expresses 'serious concerns' with Biden's defense increase Lawmakers express horror at latest Capitol attack MORE (D-Calif.) would prohibit funds for offensive military force in or against Iran without prior authorization from Congress.

The other bill, previously introduced by Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeBiden funding decision inflames debate over textbooks for Palestinian refugees 10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump White House delays release of budget plan MORE (D-Calif.) last year, would repeal the 2002 authorization of military force against Iraq, which the administration used as legal justification for the Soleimani strike.

"In addition to the War Powers Resolution, we believe it is imperative to simultaneously pursue all avenues to prevent a disastrous war with Iran," Lee and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Mark PocanMark William PocanBiden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Senate GOP slams Biden defense budget Omar rips Bezos amid union fight: Forces workers to 'defecate in bags' MORE (D-Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan Gosar's siblings ratchet up criticism over Capitol riot MORE (D-Wash.) said in a joint statement.

"Given the lack of any coherent strategy by the White House to de-escalate tensions and protect U.S. troops, regional partners, and innocent civilians, Congress must act swiftly to prevent another endless war," they added.

The House passed an annual defense authorization bill last summer that included the proposals from Khanna and Lee. But both of their measures were ultimately left out of the final version that Trump signed into law last month.

The War Powers Resolution to be unveiled by Slotkin and Democratic leaders this week to limit the Trump administration's actions against Iran is expected to pass easily with widespread support from Democrats.

"As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe. For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress’s war powers granted to it by the Constitution," Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe growing threat of China's lawfare Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report Biden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' MORE (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to her colleagues on Sunday.

A House vote on the resolution has not yet been scheduled but is expected later in the week.

Yet it's unlikely that Senate Republicans, who have largely backed Trump for ordering the strike that killed Soleimani, will support the measure to restrict his powers.

Congress did pass a resolution last year to force the Trump administration to end U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, but Trump vetoed it. An attempt to override Trump's veto in the Senate fell short of the necessary two-thirds majority.

Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoBiden loves the Georgia boycott — So why won't he boycott the Beijing Olympic games? The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Five things to watch for at the GOP's donor retreat MORE and Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperThe paradox of US-India relations Overnight Defense: Trump-era land mine policy unchanged amid review | Biden spending outline coming Friday | First lady sets priorities for relaunched military families initiative Biden to keep Trump-era land mine policy in place during review MORE, are slated to brief members of the House and Senate about Iran on Wednesday.