Posted by 10 January 2020
The House of Representatives yesterday expressed its displeasure with President Trump’s military actions against Iran.
By a vote of 224-194, the House passed House Concurrent Resolution 83, which invokes the War Powers Act to end Iranian hostilities. The resolution states that the President must stop military action against or in Iran until:
(1) Congress has declared war or enacted specific statutory authorization for such use of the Armed Forces; or
(2) such use of the Armed Forces is necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its Armed Forces, consistent with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution.
This resolution was prompted by President Trump’s drone strike, which killed a top Iranian general. Many members of Congress have said this action will likely lead to war with Iran. They point out that the Constitution requires that Congress declare war. President Trump pushed back, saying that what he did was allowed because he is commander-in-chief. He said that the drone strike saved American lives and stopped an imminent threat.
The War Powers Act, invoked by this resolution, requires that presidents consult with Congress before military actions and seek congressional approval for longer-term military deployments. Enacted in the 1970s in the wake of the Vietnam War, presidents have routinely claimed that the law is an unconstitutional violation of their powers as commander-in-chief.
The vote was mainly along party lines. Three Republicans and one independent voted in favor of the resolution. Eight Democrats voted against it. The Senate is unlikely to take up a similar resolution.
Do you think that military action against Iran should stop until Congress votes to declare war against that country?