Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority

Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Defense Production Act urgently needed for critical medical gear 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order MORE (D-Calif.), who is sponsoring a bill to block funding for military action against Iran, said Friday that Democrats are weighing speed against the size of the vote as they determine the timing of his bill.

“We want to move fast, but we also want to move which will have the biggest majority,” he told reporters Friday afternoon. “And so I think [House Majority Leader] Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House MORE’s [D-Md.] been very, very helpful in talking to some of the frontline members and moderate members and getting them on board with the language in the bill, but make sure that we are unified as a caucus."

"So I’d like to vote on it today or Tuesday, but I also want a vote with the biggest number, and so it’s balancing the urgency with sending as powerful a message,” Khanna said.

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Earlier on Friday, Hoyer said on the House floor there was a “possibility” of taking up Khanna’s bill next week, as well as one from Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeCBS All Access launches animated 'Tooning Out the News' series Bill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Democrats spar with DeVos at hearing, say Trump budget would 'privatize education' MORE (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), but that those votes “have not yet been scheduled."

The House has been moving on Iran-related bills after a spike in tensions the last couple weeks brought Washington and Tehran to the brink of war.

House Democrats have also been furious at what they describe as the Trump administration’s insufficient evidence and shifting explanations to justify the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

On Thursday, President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE claimed Iran was “looking to blow up our embassy” in Baghdad — something Democrats say was never mentioned at a Wednesday briefing on the Soleimani strike. In a Friday interview with Fox News's Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamHillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria treatment for coronavirus Trump team fiercely debates how long coronavirus restrictions should stay in place MORE, Trump added that the threat was to a total of four U.S. embassies.

The House on Thursday passed a resolution seeking to block Trump from going to war with Iran in a 224-194 vote. Three Republicans supported the measure, while eight Democrats opposed it.

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Khanna’s bill and Lee’s bill were both in the version of the annual defense policy bill the House passed in July. But they were taken out from the final version that was signed into law during negotiations with the Senate.

In July, Khanna’s proposal was approved 251-170, with 27 Republicans supporting and seven Democrats opposing it. Lee’s was approved 242-180, with 14 Republican yeses and four Democratic noes.

Asked about the level of support he expects for his bill now, Khanna said he’s been told by at least one Democrat who voted against Thursday’s war powers resolution that he would vote for his bill: Rep. Max RoseMax RoseOvernight Defense: Aircraft carrier captain pleads for help with outbreak | Pentagon shipment of ventilators delayed | Pompeo urges countries to be more 'transparent' with virus data New York representative to deploy with National Guard as part of coronavirus response Democratic lawmaker on stimulus vote delay: 'There will be blood on Thomas Massie's hands' MORE (D-N.Y.).

Khanna said he hopes Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) Gaetz2020 on my mind: Democrats have to think like Mitch McConnell Harris knocks Gaetz for taking issue with money for Howard in relief package Critics hit Florida governor over lack of 'sweeping' coronavirus response MORE (R-Fla.) a vocal Trump supporter who voted for the war powers resolution and co-sponsored Khanna’s July bill, supports his bill again, though their conversations recently have been more focused on the war powers resolution.

Khanna added that he is pushing for the language of his bill to be same as the one that was approved in July to maintain Republican support.

“It’s not in any way a statement about the president,” he said. “It’s a statement about constraining future war in Iran. And so I believe we have a better if we can keep the identical language, which I pushed for, to get a significant amount of Republican support, and we should try to get as much Republican support as possible.”