Schumer: Trump must get congressional approval before any military action against Iran

Democrats told President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE in a situation room meeting Thursday he needs to get congressional authorization before taking military action against Iran, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US MORE (D-N.Y.) said.

“I told the president that these conflicts have a way of escalating. The president may not intend to go to war here, but we’re worried that — and the administration may bumble into a war,” Schumer told reporters at Capitol Hill after the meeting.

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“We told the room that the Democratic position is that congressional approval must be required before funding any conflict in Iran,” he continued. “One of the best ways to avoid bumbling into a war, a war that nobody wants, is to have a robust open debate and for Congress to have a real say. We learned that lesson in the run-up to Iraq.”

Trump invited congressional leaders from both parties and chambers to the White House situation room to discuss Iran after Tehran shot down a U.S. drone.

The Wednesday night incident added uncertainty to what was already a volatile situation in the region, heightening fears of a military confrontation between the United States and Iran.

U.S. officials say the Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone was operating in international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz when an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot it down.

Iran holds the drone was operating in its airspace over the Hormozgan Province in southern Iran.

In his statement to reporters after the briefing, Schumer called on Senate Republicans to allow a vote on an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would prohibit funds from being used for military operations against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

The amendment is being sponsored by Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule MORE (D-N.M.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin Health care moves to center stage in Democratic primary fight Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress MORE (D-Va.), who were on the Senate floor at the same time as the briefing calling for a vote when the National Defense Authorization Act is debated next week.

“It's unfair to our troops to put them in harm's way with Congress hiding under their desk not being willing to state yea or nay about whether we should be engaged in hostilities,” Kaine said.

Thursday afternoon’s situation room briefing came after administration officials briefed congressional leaders on Capitol Hill in the morning.

Ahead of the afternoon briefing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Trump says US will not sell Turkey F-35s after Russian missile defense system purchase MORE (R-Okla.) told reporters Trump invited lawmakers to the White House despite earlier briefings because “he wants input” on what to do.

"If he's going to plan on having some ideas on what he wants to do, he wants to make sure there's not going to be a lot of outrage that nobody else knew about it," Inhofe said.

House Democrats also held their own Iran briefing Thursday with a trio of former officials: former CIA director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanWebb: Questions for Robert Mueller A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats Trump critic Brennan praises his Iran decision: I 'applaud' him MORE, Iran deal negotiator Wendy Sherman and former ambassador William Luers.

Following the White House briefing, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump faces new hit on deficit MORE (D-Calif.) called for Trump to de-escalate the situation.

“In light of the targeting of an unmanned U.S. drone by Iran, it is essential that we remain fully engaged with our allies, recognize that we are not dealing with a responsible adversary and do everything in our power to de-escalate,” she said in a written statement. “This is a dangerous, high-tension situation that requires a strong, smart and strategic, not reckless, approach.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally Third Kentucky Democrat announces challenge to McConnell MORE (R-Ky.), meanwhile, called Trump’s responses to the situation “measured.” 

“We had a good briefing,” McConnell said. “The administration is engaged in what I would call measured responses.”