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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) KhannaKhanna: US airstrikes in Syria 'clearly' violate American and international law The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J vax rollout today; third woman accuses Cuomo Progressives push White House to overturn wage ruling 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 plans for immigration bills add uncertainty on Biden proposal This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback House set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package 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 LeePro-Choice Caucus asks Biden to remove abortion fund restrictions from 2022 budget Progressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Lawmakers, Martin Luther King III discuss federal responses to systematic racism 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 TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm 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 IngrahamHaley isolated after Trump fallout Tucker Carlson to produce video podcasts for Fox Nation Rush Limbaugh dead at 70 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: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Austin sworn in as nation's first Black Pentagon chief We lost in November — we're proud we didn't take corporate PAC money MORE (D-N.Y.).

Khanna said he hopes Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzSome Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats Wray says no evidence of 'antifa' involvement in Jan. 6 attack Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC 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.”