As tensions between the United States and Iran persist, Congress is looking to become involved, at some level, with the decision making, particularly when it comes to the president’s war powers.
On Jan. 3, a drone strike in Iraq killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and this week Iran in retaliation bombed U.S. and allied occupied bases in Iraq. Elected officials have been publicly debating the consequences of the U.S. strike and what Congress’ role should be in the matter.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, by a vote of 224-194, that directs President Donald Trump to “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.”
Three Republicans voted in favor of the resolution while eight Democrats voted against it.
Republican Congressman Bryan Steil, who represents the Wisconsin’s 1st District which includes Racine County, explained why he voted against the resolution in a statement:
“The War Powers resolution, drafted by Democratic Leadership, is a politically motivated attempt to limit the authority of the Commander in Chief. During 2019, Iran conducted multiple attacks on the United States, the Middle East, and our allies. Just this week, Iran directly attacked U.S. service members in Iraq. Now is not the time for partisan attempts to undermine any president’s authority and limit America’s deterrence by removing the military’s authority to use force.”
Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Racine native who represents the 4th District in the Milwaukee area, voted in favor of the resolution.
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Moore said that when Trump ordered a strike killing Soleimani it threatened “to cascade the United States into an ill-advised, non-authorized war with Iran and is already setting into motion a series of disastrous unintended consequences for American security and interests in the Middle East.”
“The President trashed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which Iran was following and that put in place the first real restraints on Iran’s nuclear program,” Moore said in a statement. “The world and America were safer under the JCPOA framework period, enter Trump and now we see Iranian rockets firing, U.S. forces being pushed out of Iraq and alliances strained as we all await further retaliations.
Resolution in Senate
The U.S. Senate will likely be taking up a similar resolution, which Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin favors.
Baldwin plans to cosponsor a resolution authored by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, that she hopes will generate a debate and vote regarding military action against Iran.
“The Constitution is very clear that only Congress has the authority to declare war and I support Sen. Kaine’s resolution to ensure that President Trump comes to Congress first before pursuing any military action against Iran and starting another war in the Middle East,” said Senator Baldwin. “If the president wants to send more young men and women to war, he cannot take a ‘go it alone’ approach and repeat the mistakes of the past. We must have a public debate in Congress, and have a conversation with the American people who are sick and tired of war in the Middle East.”