WASHINGTON — The House will vote this week on a war powers resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s actions against Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Pelosi’s announcement was a sudden departure from what members of her caucus were saying earlier Wednesday morning. While many were pushing for a war powers resolution, lawmakers said ahead of an all-members briefing with Trump administration officials on conflict with Iran that if and when they would move forward with one remained an open question.
“Members of Congress have serious, urgent concerns about the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran and about its lack of strategy moving forward. Our concerns were not addressed by the President’s insufficient War Powers Act notification and by the Administration’s briefing today,” Pelosi said in her statement. “Today, to honor our duty to keep the American people safe, the House will move forward with a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran.”
The House will vote tomorrow on the resolution, which is led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a first-term lawmaker who previously served in the CIA and with the Department of Defense.
The move comes just over a week after the United States killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani without congressional authorization, which Trump and his allies argue was necessary in the face of an “imminent threat.”
Democrats aren’t buying the argument.
“There was no rationale beyond a graduate school thesis text,” Rep. Gerry Connolly told reporters as he left the Wednesday afternoon briefing. “I was utterly unpersuaded about any evidence of a threat that was new or imminent.”
Iran responded to the attack on Soleimani Tuesday night, striking Iraqi air bases housing US troops, but in an address to the nation Wednesday morning, Trump said he believes Iran “appears to be standing down.”
In her statement Wednesday, Pelosi said the House will also consider other bills “to keep America safe,” including Rep. Barbara Lee’s resolution to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) — which the Trump administration has said was the legal basis for Soleimani’s killing — and Rep. Ro Khanna’s legislation to prohibit funding for military action against Iran not authorized by Congress.
“The Administration must work with the Congress to advance an immediate, effective de-escalatory strategy that prevents further violence,” the speaker said. “America and the world cannot afford war.”
Sen. Tim Kaine has introduced a similar war powers resolution in the Senate, which is likely to get a vote next week.