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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 HoyerHouse Democrats introduce bill providing citizenship to Dreamers On The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief MORE (D-Md.) said Wednesday that Democrats won't dally in voting on a resolution limiting President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee 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."

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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Biden urges Democrats to advocate for rescue package 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 SlotkinTwo men charged with making threatening calls to Michigan officials House Democrats request documents from DHS intelligence office about Jan. 6 attack Lawmakers mull domestic terrorism statute in wake of Jan. 6 attack 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."