House approves measure to restrain Trump’s actions on Iran

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to meet with other House Democrats on the morning following Iranian attacks on bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON, DC – Reigniting a debate over who has the power to declare war, the Democratic-controlled House on Thursday approved a resolution asserting that President Donald Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran.

The war powers resolution is not binding on the president and would not require his signature. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nonetheless insisted it "has real teeth" because "it is a statement of the Congress of the United States."

The measure will “protect American lives and values” by limiting Trump's military actions, Pelosi said. "The administration must de-escalate and must prevent further violence.''

The White House called the resolution “ridiculous" and “completely misguided."

And Trump, at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, claimed he had no obligation to give lawmakers advance warning, saying Democrats like Pelosi “want us to tell them so they can leak it to their friends in the corrupt media.”

The House passed the measure, 224-194, with just three Republicans voting in support. Eight Democrats opposed the measure.

A similar proposal by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., faces an uphill fight in the GOP-run Senate. Kaine's efforts received a boost Thursday as Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, an ex-Marine, said he might support the war powers measure. Two other Republican senators said Wednesday they would back Kaine's plan.

“We are members of a separate and distinct branch of government. It is our duty not to take anyone’s word for things as we are dealing with matters of life and death,” Young said, adding that he wished Trump administration officials had provided more intelligence information during a briefing Wednesday on a U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general.