GOP fumes over Democrats’ maneuver for bringing up Iran bills
Republicans are fuming over a planned move by Democrats to consider Iran legislation alongside a commemorative coin bill, saying the floor maneuver is designed to prevent changes to the Democratic-backed measures reining in President Trump’s ability to wage war.
The legislative maneuver would prevent House Republicans from using a procedural tool to alter the two Iran bills at the eleventh hour since the measures would be tacked on as amendments to the coin bill. GOP lawmakers accused Democrats of attempting to silence them and said the move would set a bad precedent.
“If that’s the games they’re going to play, I mean, that to me is a tremendous risk that they are taking,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) told The Hill following a Tuesday briefing on the authorization for use of military force (AUMF). “If you want to stall everything, if they’re going to change and play games like that, I think that that’s a dangerous precedent to set.”
The legislation is slated for a floor vote Thursday.
The decision to bring up the Iran bills comes in response to Trump’s decision to launch an airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. While Republicans have largely lauded the president’s military action, Democrats have raised concerns over the constitutionality of the move, arguing it may further destabilize the region.
GOP lawmakers argue that using a different bill to bring the Iran legislation to the floor prevents adequate debate on the two measures: one would block funding for military action against Iran and the second which would repeal the 2002 AUMF.
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), who served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, said it would be “incredibly dangerous” to pass the measures without an AUMF replacement.
“Attaching it to a coin bill without a replacement … makes it incredibly dangerous,” Riggleman said. “This is very irresponsible during an impeachment hearing, without a replacement, to throw amendments on there, without even talking about it — we are in a new era of warfare.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) argued the two Iran bills could undercut the president’s ability to take necessary military action against potential threats, adding that Democrats should work with Republicans on potential updates to the AUMF and war powers.
“It’s just because they’re afraid of having an honest conversation about an alternative approach on the AUMF,” Scalise told The Hill. “I think they’re taking a disgraceful tactic of bringing the bill to the floor in this way, just because they’re afraid that they can’t control their own caucus.”
Democrats dismissed such remarks as faux outrage on behalf of GOP lawmakers, arguing that using an unrelated bill as a vehicle for amendments is not unprecedented.
“We ping-pong bills between the House and Senate all of the time, and Republicans are being misleading,” one Democratic leadership aide told The Hill on Tuesday evening, adding that Republicans can offer what’s known as a motion to recommit on Thursday or the following week.
Republicans have had some success in using the motion to recommit procedural tool to make changes to legislation at the last minute.
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