Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, and 223 fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a war powers resolution Thursday aimed “to more concretely define and limit” President Donald Trump’s military actions regarding Iran.
The resolution, , H. Con. Res. 83, passed 224-192 mostly along party lines, with three Republicans joining the Democrats to vote in favor and eight Democrats voting against. It directs the president to terminate the use of the U.S. military in hostilities in or against Iran, unless Congress authorizes otherwise or there is an imminent armed attack against the U.S. or our armed forces.
The resolution also clarifies that it does not prevent the president from coming to Congress for authorization if Iran attacks America’s allies or partners, consistent with the War Powers Act. The bill further states that it does not stop the president from using force against Al Qaeda or its associated forces, according to a news release from Mr. Carbajal’s office.
“It is the responsibility of Congress, outlined in the Constitution, to set the parameters on if, when and where our nation leads our military into hostilities. Let me be clear: We do not want war with Iran, and we should not put U.S. troops, diplomats and civilians in harm’s way to satisfy the whims of this president,” Mr. Carbajal said in a statement. “I was a part of the administration’s classified briefing to Congress (Wednesday) — it only strengthened my belief that President Trump did not have a true strategy or legal justification for his recent actions regarding Iran, and that Congress must step in and assert our constitutional authority. I’m proud this resolution passed the House today; I hope the Senate will take the same stand.”
Mr. Trump on Wednesday said the U.S. would impose new sanctions against Iran, though he backed away from further military action after Iran launched missiles at two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. Iran’s attack was in response to America’s killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Following the vote on Thursday, the White House said the resolution was “misguided.”
“The president has the right and duty to protect this nation and our citizens from terrorism. That’s what he continues to do, and the world is safer for it,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “This House resolution tries to undermine the ability of the U.S. Armed Forces to prevent terrorist activity by Iran and its proxies, and attempts to hinder the president’s authority to protect America and our interests in the region from the continued threats. These Congressional actions are completely misguided. In fact, this ridiculous resolution is just another political move because, under well-established Supreme Court precedent, it’s non-binding and lacks the force of law.”
The war powers measure crafted by House Democrats was written as a concurrent resolution, which is traditionally considered nonbinding and does not require the president’s signature.