By staff and agency

U.S. House passes legislation to stop Trump from a war with Iran

January 31, 2020 - 18:39

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two pieces of a legislation on Thursday seeking to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to go to war with Iran.

According to Reuters, the Democratic-led House voted nearly along party lines to pass one measure that would prohibit military action against Iran without congressional approval. It also voted to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the use of Military Force for the war in Iraq, which presidents have long used to justify a range of military actions.

The vote for the first measure was 228 to 175, as four of Trump’s fellow Republicans joined Democrats in backing the bill and three Democrats joined most Republicans in voting no. The vote for the second was 236 to 166, with 11 Republicans voting yea and two Democrats voting nay.

“The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war. And with President Trump taking steps toward dangerous conflict with Iran - without any consultation with Congress - we need to reassert the responsibility given to us,” Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in support of the legislation.

In an interview with Geo News published on January 25, Engel criticized Trump for beating drums of war against Iran. 

“The United States, frankly, has been involved in too many wars in the last twenty years. And, I think it’s time to back off and not have a perpetual war,” he said.

He also called assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani “an ill-advised action”.

Many members of Congress, including some Republicans, have been pushing the administration for more information about assassination of Soleimani, Reuters reported.

Trump did not inform Congress about the drone strike until after it took place and then, according to many lawmakers, his administration held back too much information about the reason for the strike and its legal justification.

General Soleimani was assassinated in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on January 3.

In a retaliatory move, Iran fired dozens of ballistic missiles at a major U.S. military base in Iraq on January 8.

Top Iranian political and military figures had vowed “harsh revenge” for the martyrdom of General Soleimani.

Ayatollah Khamenei said on January 8 that such military actions are not enough and the U.S. forces must leave the region.