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) KhannaHouse to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Warren-Sanders dispute thrusts gender into 2020 spotlight The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment week 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 HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority 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 LeeSteyer calls for cuts to defense spending House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority 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 TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president 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 IngrahamState Department cancels two classified congressional briefings on Iran, embassy security Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Trump says it doesn't matter if Soleimani posed an imminent threat 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 RoseBiden picks up endorsement of early O'Rourke backer Sean Maloney Bloomberg gets first congressional endorsement 2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution 'because it merely restated existing law' MORE (D-N.Y.).

Khanna said he hopes Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGaetz in Twitter battle with Florida House Republican Apple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Conservatives slam Warren's call to put transgender women in women's prisons 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.”