On Thursday the Democratic-led House passed legislation to stop funding for military action in Iran and to repeal the 2002 war authorization for Iraq — which multiple administrations have based unilateral military actions on without the approval of Congress.
Predictably, Trump has threatened to veto both bills amid an ongoing struggle in which doves in Congress are attempting to reign in presumed executive war powers. The first bill blocks President Trump from accessing federal funds for “unauthorized military force against Iran” in a vote of 228-175, which largely came down along party lines.
The 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) came up for debate immediately on the heels of the passed Iran vote. A number of Republicans have invoked the AUMF to defend the Jan.3 assassination by drone of IRGC Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani.
“The last thing we can do is give the Pentagon another blank check,” bill sponsor Rep. Ro Khanna of California Khanna (D) told reporters Wednesday. “The only time the Pentagon listens is where we exercise our power of the purse.”
Ahead of the vote, Trump tweeted Wednesday:
“Nancy Pelosi wants Congress to take away authority Presidents use to stand up to other countries and defend AMERICANS. Stand with your Commander in Chiefs!”
Both bills are expected meet their end in the Republican-held Senate, but even if not they would be vetoed by Trump.
Nancy Pelosi wants Congress to take away authority Presidents use to stand up to other countries and defend AMERICANS. Stand with your Commander in Chiefs!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020
Ironically, the White House has argued that the bills actually make war with Iran “more likely” because they make it harder for Trump to take action to prevent broader conflict before it starts (i.e.- in the form of assassinating Iranian military leaders to send a strong punitive message, apparently).
Also ironic is that Trump previously criticized former President Obama as well as his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for themselves waging non-Congressionally approved “regime change wars” in places like Libya and Syria, especially on the 2016 campaign trail.