US Congress Passes War Powers Resolution Limiting Trump's Military Action Against Iran

CC BY 2.0 / Phil Roeder / United States Capitol
United States Capitol - Sputnik International
The US House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday that would limit US President Donald Trump's power to make war against Iran. The House passed a nonbinding version earlier this year, but the Senate passed a more powerful version, which the House has now also approved of.

The resolution passed the House on Wednesday with a vote of 227 for and 186 against and will now proceed to the White House, where Trump is expected to veto it.

"If President Trump is serious about his promise to stop endless wars, he will sign this resolution into law," Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who sponsored the resolution, said Wednesday following the House vote.

"We can't allow another war of choice in the Middle East," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), wrote on Twitter. "Make no mistake: Trump’s continued and reckless military actions, without Congressional approval or authorization, caused this crisis."

​Prompted by the US airstrike on January 3 that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani outside Baghdad, bringing the region to the brink of a major war and severely souring US-Iraqi relations, the resolution would require Trump to obtain Congressional approval before other such actions in the future.

The resolution amends the War Powers Act of 1973, which was implemented in the closing days of the Vietnam War in an effort to block future presidents from unilaterally taking the US into a major conflict, as US President Lyndon B. Johnson did in 1964. While the law recognizes that the president has the power to deploy US forces into combat without a formal declaration of war, it requires them to give Congress at least 48 hours notice and establishes a 60-day time limit. Military operations beyond that scope require congressional authorization.

The House passed its original, nonbinding version the day after Iran's retaliatory strike on two US bases in Iraq that did not kill anyone, but wounded dozens of US troops. However, when the Senate passed the resolution a month later, they made it compulsory instead of merely a recommendation. All votes on the resolution have been bipartisan in nature.

"If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day," Trump tweeted in February after the Senate vote. "Sends a very bad signal."

The vote came down Wednesday just as US forces attacked Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces following a rocket attack on Taji Base, an Iraqi base that houses US troops.
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