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

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi (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 Trump 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 Slotkin (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.”

“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.”

“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 Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) — said they plan to support a similar measure introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in the upper chamber, GOP lawmakers in the House are expected to largely remain unified in their stance against the resolution. 

Tags Donald Trump Elissa Slotkin Kevin McCarthy Mike Lee Nancy Pelosi Rand Paul Tim Kaine
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