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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 John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE's actions in the country.

Freshman Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinOvernight Defense: National Guard says no federal requests for election security help | Dems accuse VA head of misusing resources | Army official links COVID-19 to troop suicides Esper ducks questions on military involvement in election Hillicon Valley: Facebook to label posts if candidates prematurely declare victory | Supreme Court hears landmark B Google, Oracle copyright fight | House Dem accuses Ratcliffe of politicizing election security intel 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) KhannaExpiring benefits raise economic stakes of stalled stimulus talks Overnight Defense: Pentagon IG to audit use of COVID-19 funds on contractors | Dems optimistic on blocking Trump's Germany withdrawal | Obama slams Trump on foreign policy Watchdog to audit Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds on defense contractors 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 LeeOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Democrats accuse tech companies of deceitful tactics in campaign against Calif. ballot measure Congress fiddles while the US burns, floods, and ails 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 PocanThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Barrett touts independence to sidestep confirmation questions Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Poll shows Biden leading Trump, tight House race in key Nebraska district MORE (D-Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Poll shows Biden leading Trump, tight House race in key Nebraska district 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 PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWar in the Caucasus: What happens without US leadership — but a chance to get it right Pompeo to meet separately with Azerbaijan, Armenia top diplomats Taking aim at online anti-Semitism MORE and Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperTop military officers cleared to return to Pentagon after quarantine Indonesia rebuffed US proposal for refueling spy planes: report Overnight Defense: Supreme Court to hear case on diversion of Pentagon funds to border wall | Biden campaign cutting retired general from ad after objection | Trump's arms control talks with Russia hit wall MORE, are slated to brief members of the House and Senate about Iran on Wednesday.