McCarthy accuses Pelosi of 'lying to the American public' about strength of war powers resolution

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDon't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Barr has considered resigning over Trump tweets about DOJ: reports Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative MORE (R-Calif.) accused Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDon't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Hillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei MORE (D-Calif.) of “lying to the American public” about the strength of the nonbinding war powers resolution slated to come to the floor on Thursday, arguing the measure has no power to curb the president’s ability to take additional military action against Iran. 

McCarthy argued President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants MORE did not need congressional approval to launch an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and blasted Democrats' decision to take up the war powers resolution introduced by freshman Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinM ad buy praises swing-district Democrats' environmental work The Hill's Campaign Report: Buttigieg, Sanders ahead in Iowa debacle Vulnerable House Democrats benefit from fundraising surge amid impeachment MORE (D-Mich.), a former Department of Defense official and CIA analyst.

McCarthy noted concurrent resolutions are not sent to the president and do not become law, equating the power of the measure to the resolutions used by Congress to “invite the soap box derby to Capitol Hill.”

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“Make no mistake, today's war powers resolution cannot become law, by definition, it will never be sent to the president, and it will never limit his constitutional authority to defend the American people,” he told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.  

“This is a meaningless vote that only sends the wrong message that the House Democrats would rather stand with the socialist base than stand against Iran.”

He continued, “Well, first of all, they're [Democrats] lying to the American public by concurrent resolution. It has no power. It has no power whatsoever. It's equivalent to when we invite the soap box derby to Capitol Hill."

“So the Speaker just stood before you, and either does not know the meaning of the Constitution, or she lied to you — I'm not sure which one it is. The idea that they want to curb the ability of the president to react when more than 600 Americans have been killed, when our embassy has been attacked, when an American was killed and that was a red line.” 

McCarthy said he welcomes a debate on war powers, but criticized the timing of the resolution, accusing Pelosi of “defending Soleimani,” and taking aim at her remarks at a press conference that “we have no illusions about Iran, no illusions about Soleimani — he was a terrible person, did bad things. But it's not about how bad they are, it's about how good we are."

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“What do you say to all the Gold Star families? Did you listen to what the Speaker just said? That Soleimani was a bad person, but — there is no but. He's a bad person because he kills American soldiers, he's a bad person because he led against the embassy, he's a bad person because he went after the tankers, he's a bad person because he bombed the refinery, he's a bad person because he was planning more against the Americans,” he said. 

“The president was right in his actions and we are safer today for it. I think that part of what the Democrats are doing today is wrong.” 

McCarthy’s comments came shortly after Pelosi asserted the measure has “real teeth” despite its nonbinding nature, telling reporters the decision to move forward with the concurrent resolution instead of binding legislation was strategic and intentional. 

“We're taking this path because it does not require a signature of the president of the United States,” she said at a press conference on Thursday morning. “This is a statement of the Congress of the United States and I will not have that statement be diminished by whether the president will veto it or not.” 

While two Republicans — Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Ky.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (Utah) — said they plan to support a similar measure introduced by Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' Democratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students MORE (D-Va.) in the upper chamber, GOP lawmakers in the House are expected to largely remain unified in their stance against the resolution.