Updated Jan 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi announces war powers vote in attempt to limit Trump on Iran

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at her final weekly news conference of 2019 at the U.S. Capitol

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a news conference at the Capitol in December. Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced in a letter Sunday that the House will this week "introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit" President Trump's "military actions regarding Iran."

Why it matters: Pelosi announced the action as Trump ramped up his rhetoric against Iran and also threatened Iraq with sanctions after Iraqi lawmakers passed a resolution asking the government to expel U.S. troops for the killing last Friday of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and the leader of an Iraqi militia in Baghdad.

"Last week, the Trump Administration conducted a provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials. This action endangered our service members, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran."
— Excerpt from Pelosi's letter

The big picture: In the letter to Democratic House members, Pelosi thanked her colleagues for their "patriotic leadership" during the Iran crisis as she outlined her plan for the resolution, which will be led by freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former CIA and Defense Department analyst specializing in Shia militias.

  • The resolution "reasserts Congress's long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days," Pelosi states.
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a similar resolution in the Senate.

Background: Pelosi said Saturday that she was dissatisfied with Trump's War Powers notification to Congress regarding Iran because it "raises more questions than it answers" and "prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing" of the U.S. military strike that killed Soleimani.

State of play: The war powers vote comes as Congress prepares to return to recess on Monday with no announcement on when Pelosi will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate following Trump's December impeachment in the House.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the letter and context.

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