Hoyer: War powers vote coming 'sooner rather than later'

Hoyer: War powers vote coming 'sooner rather than later'
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerLawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump to Democratic negotiators: 'They know my phone number' House will be out of session for additional week in September MORE (D-Md.) said Wednesday that Democrats won't dally in voting on a resolution limiting President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE's military powers amid a heightened conflict with Iran.

The Maryland Democrat did not commit to a tentatively scheduled vote this week, but he indicated that Tuesday's strikes by Iran on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops would not deter Democrats from seeking to rein in Trump's authority to escalate aggressions with Tehran without congressional approval.

"We're working on this, and you're going to see it as soon as we believe it is prepared to move forward," he told reporters in the Capitol. "But it's going to be sooner rather than later."

ADVERTISEMENT
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Trump says he'd sign bill funding USPS but won't seek changes to help mail voting On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' MORE (D-Calif.) announced Sunday that the House would vote on a war powers resolution designed to limit the Pentagon's engagement with Iran to 30 days, unless Congress provides explicit approval to extend operations. The effort, to be led by freshman Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinPaul Junge wins Michigan GOP primary to challenge Elissa Slotkin Overnight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze House Democrat warns about 'inaccurate' polls: Trump voters 'fundamentally undercounted' MORE (D-Mich.), is a response to Trump's decision last week to approve a drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

"This week, the House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran," Pelosi wrote Sunday in a letter to fellow House Democrats.

That timeline has been complicated, however, by disagreements between liberal and moderate Democrats about the scope of the limitations contained in the resolution, which has yet to be introduced.

Hoyer said Democrats are "pretty close to resolving" those divisions, predicting they'll secure plenty of support to pass the measure whenever it hits the floor.

The debate was also snarled by Iran's Tuesday attacks on a pair of Iraqi bases that are hosting U.S. troops, an episode raising fresh questions about the appropriateness of tying the Pentagon's hands just as the hostilities were mounting.

Democrats have largely dismissed those concerns, citing the constitutional responsibly of Congress — not the president — to declare war, while questioning Trump's rationale for targeting Soleimani to begin with.

"We are technically not at war with Iran, at this point in time," Hoyer said. "And the president needs to get the authority to do that, absent an imminent threat."