The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to curb President Donald Trump’s ability to strike Iran militarily, adopting a bipartisan provision that would require the President to get Congress’s approval before authorizing military force against Tehran.
The 251-170 vote reflects lawmakers’ growing desire to take back long-ceded authority over matters of war and peace from the executive branch, a reclamation legislators contend has grown increasingly urgent amid escalating tensions with Iran. It also reflected a war weariness on both sides of the aisle after 17 years of conflict in the Middle East, with 27 Republicans joining the Democrats to approve it.
Last month, Mr. Trump led the United States to the brink of a retaliatory missile strike before abruptly reversing course minutes before launch. On Thursday, three Iranian boats briefly tried to block passage of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence.
Mr. Trump said last month he believes he does not need congressional approval to strike Iran. The vote Friday amounted to a pointed and bipartisan rebuttal – led by strange ideological bedfellows, Representative Ro Khanna, a liberal Democrat from California, and Matt Gaetz of Florida, one of Mr. Trump’s most strident Republican allies in Congress.
“When this passes, it will be a clear statement from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that this country is tired of endless wars, that we do not want another war in the Middle East,” Mr. Khanna said before the amendment vote.
Mr. Gaetz issued a challenge to his Republican peers late Thursday night.
“If my war-hungry colleagues, some of whom have already suggested we invade Venezuela and North Korea and probably a few other countries before lunchtime tomorrow; if they’re so certain of their case against Iran,” Mr. Gaetz said, “let them bring their authorization to use military force against Iran to this very floor. Let them make the case to Congress and the American people.”
The amendment, attached to the annual defence policy bill, would not restrict the President’s ability to respond to an attack.