House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives

House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives
© Greg Nash
The House will vote later this month on two bills sought by progressives to more aggressively rein in President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE's ability to take military action against Iran without authorization from Congress, Democratic leaders announced Tuesday.
 
Democrats remain frustrated with the Trump administration's shifting rationale for the drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, which in turn led to Iran launching missile attacks on two bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops last week.
 
The votes during the week of Jan. 27 will come after the House already passed a war powers resolution last week largely along party lines that would direct the president to end military hostilities with Iran unless there is an imminent attack or Congress specifically authorizes it. 
 
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerKey races to watch in Tuesday's primaries Overnight Defense: Democrats expand probe into State IG's firing | House schedules late June votes with defense bill on deck | New Navy secretary sworn in House scheduled to return for votes in late June MORE (D-Md.) said that the House will take up the two bills following next week's recess for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, adding that the measures "will reassert Congress’s constitutional authority in questions of war and peace and sending American forces into harm’s way."
 
The first measure from Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDemocrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd Black Caucus member unveils bill to create commission addressing legacy of slavery House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality MORE (D-Calif.) would repeal the 2002 authorization of military force for the Iraq War that has been used as justification for military action against Iran. The other, authored by Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Delaney says Trump is spewing venom when he should be leading; Protests roil the nation as fears of new virus outbreaks grow Is the 'endless frontier' at an end? Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues MORE (D-Calif.), would prohibit the use of federal funds for military action in or against Iran unless authorized by Congress.
 
Both measures previously passed the House last summer as part of the annual defense authorization bill, but were left out of the final version that Trump signed into law in December.

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) had been in talks with Democratic leaders since last week about holding separate votes on the two bills alongside the war powers resolution. CPC leaders also publicly called for votes on the two bills.
 
But while announcing the vote on the war powers resolution last week, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump praises 'domination' of DC protesters Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd MORE (D-Calif.) at the time only said that the House "may also soon consider" the bills from Lee and Khanna without committing to a time frame.

During a briefing with reporters earlier Tuesday in the Capitol, Hoyer linked the votes to the Trump administration's shifting explanations for the strike targeting Soleimani.

Democrats — and a handful of Republicans — were frustrated by a briefing with Trump administration officials on Capitol Hill last week that they said did not offer evidence of an imminent threat from Iran.

"We're very, very concerned about the briefing, about the contradictions that the president has come out with. He was saying that you know, an imminent danger was not necessary, that they had a lot of information over a lot of time. I think there's a lot we need to find out here. So far the administration's contradictions have undermined the credibility of their representations," Hoyer said.

Trump said in a Fox News interview last week that there was intelligence showing that Iran could have attacked four American embassies. But Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperWhite House: Trump to use 'federal assets' in response to violent protests Overnight Defense: Esper, Milley part of 'command center' for response to protests over George Floyd killing | Several West Point cadets test positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump commencement speech | UN report says Taliban, al Qaeda not breaking ties 'Small number' of West Point cadets test positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump commencement address MORE said on the Sunday political talk show circuit days later that he had not seen concrete evidence that the embassies were under threat when Trump authorized targeting Soleimani. 
 
Then on Monday, Trump tweeted that it “doesn’t really matter” if Soleimani was planning imminent attacks because of his “horrible past.”
 
The Senate may also take up the war powers debate in the coming days just as it begins to turn its focus on the upcoming impeachment trial, but the timing is currently in flux.
 
Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineGeorge Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus MORE (D-Va.) said Tuesday that he had secured majority support for his resolution — similar to the one passed by the House — to restrict Trump's ability to go to war with Iran after four GOP senators said they would back it.
 
— Mike Lillis contributed