Progressives push for votes to block funding for war against Iran
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 Trump’s actions in the country.
Freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin (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 Khanna (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 Lee (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 Pocan (D-Wis.) and Pramila Jayapal (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 Pelosi (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 Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, are slated to brief members of the House and Senate about Iran on Wednesday.