After being repeatedly ignored by presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan when it comes to the US’s ever-expanding military commitments around the globe, Congress finally decided to try and take some of that discretionary power back.
Using President Trump’s latest attack on Iranian interests as justification, Democratic leader and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi successfully passed a resolution that would force Trump to go to Congress for authorization before taking any further actions against Iran.
The vote in the Dem-controlled House was 224 to 194 in an almost entirely party-line vote. The vote has long been expected, and although a few Republican senators have decided to join Democrats in supporting the measure in the Senate, it’s still a few votes shy of passing, according to the latest vote totals circulating in the press.
By pressing ahead with her War Powers Resolution, Pelosi ignited a debate that many thought had been settled: For years, presidents have had authority to unilaterally authorize military action. Remember that time Barack Obama ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden? He didn’t need to go to Congress for that.
But by capitalizing on all the unfounded speculation about Trump starting WWIII, Pelosi sought to raise the issue, in an attempt to win a few Republican votes. Unfortunately for her, Republicans remained united in support of the president by equating support for Pelosi’s resolution with support for America’s enemies, according to the New York Times.
According to CNN, the resolution states that “when the United States military force, the American people and members of the United States Armed Forces deserve a credible explanation regarding such use of military force,” and also that “Congress has not authorized the President to use military force against Iran”
Of course, without Republican support in the Senate, the resolution is “largely symbolic” – just another Democratic attempt to poison public opinion against the president before election day.
Unfortunately for them, polls suggest that so far, this approach isn’t working.