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  • U.S. President Trump walks towards the podium before delivering remarks at an Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, FL, U.S., January 3, 2020.

    U.S. President Trump walks towards the podium before delivering remarks at an Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, FL, U.S., January 3, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 January 2020
Opinion

The resolution will mandate that military hostilities with Iran cease within 30 days unless further congressional authorization like a declaration of war is taken.  

United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday that the legislative body will seek to limit President Donald Trump's "military actions regarding Iran" in the wake of increased tensions between the two countries.

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The "provocative and disproportionate" airstrike on Major General Qassem Soleimani "endangered our service members, diplomats, and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran," Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic members of the House.

The resolution, which Pelosi said will be introduced and voted on this week, will mandate that military hostilities with Iran cease within 30 days unless further congressional authorization like a declaration of war is taken.  

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine has introduced a similar resolution in the Senate. Although it is very likely the resolution will pass in the Democratic-led House, it’s unlikely it will pass in the Republican-led Senate. 

"As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe. For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress's war powers granted to it by the Constitution," Pelosi added.

According to the War Powers Resolution, a U.S. president can send the country’s Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, "statutory authorization," or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

The federal law, intended to check the president's power to send country to war without consent, requires the White House to notify Congress within 48 hours of introducing forces into armed conflict or a situation that could lead to war, and forbids them from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force or a declaration of war by the U.S. 

The debate over Trump’s power to push the U.S. into war comes after the president authorized the assassination of Iran’s Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraq’s Militia Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on Thursday in an airstrike on their convoy in Baghdad airport.

On Saturday, the White House informed it had sent Congress the formal notification under the War Powers Act of the drone strike ordered against Soleimani. 

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