Mar 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House passes resolution to curb Trump's war powers against Iran

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 227-186 on Wednesday in favor of a resolution that would limit President Trump's ability to direct military action against Iran without authorization from Congress.

Why it matters: It's a bipartisan rebuke of the president's foreign policy toward Iran that has now been passed in both the House and Senate. The bill, which is expected to be vetoed by Trump, was first introduced in the wake of the president's decision to order a strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, bringing the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran.

Driving the news: Moments before the House passed the resolution, the Pentagon confirmed that two U.S. service members had been killed by a rocket attack in Iraq. Officials have not yet said who was responsible, but past rocket attacks of this sort have been attributed to Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

Between the lines: The House in January passed a "concurrent" war powers resolution, which does not have the force of law or go to the president's desk for a signature. "This is a statement of the Congress of the United States," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at the time. "I will not have that statement diminished by having the president veto it or not."

  • The new measure is a more forceful "joint" resolution, meaning it can sent to Trump's desk to be enacted into law. Neither the House nor the Senate have the two-thirds majority necessary to override Trump's veto.

The big picture: This is not the first time bipartisan members of Congress have joined forces to rebuke Trump's Middle East policies. The Senate has passed resolutions calling on Trump to pull U.S. support from the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen and blocking the administration's sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. Both were vetoed by Trump.

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2 U.S. service members killed by rocket attack in Iraq

Service members at Camp Taji, Iraq. Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images

Two U.S. service members and one other member of the anti-ISIS coalition were killed in a rocket attack in Iraq Wednesday, a Defense Department spokesperson confirmed to the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The Pentagon has not yet said who is responsible, but past rocket attacks of this kind have been attributed to Iranian-backed Shiite militias like Kataib Hezbollah (KH). In December, a rocket attack by KH killed a U.S. contractor in Iraq, resulting in a string of retaliatory attacks that culminated in a U.S. drone strike against top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 12, 2020 - World

U.S. launches retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on March 5 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The U.S. targeted five Kataib Hezbollah (KH) weapon storage facilities in Iraq on Thursday, following Wednesday's lethal attack on U.S. service members, the Department of Defense said.

Driving the news: Two U.S. service members and one member of the anti-ISIS coalition were killed in a rocket attack in Iraq on Wednesday. Similar rocket attacks in the past have been attributed to KH.

Go deeperArrowMar 12, 2020 - World

3 Americans injured in rocket strike on Iraqi camp

U.S. Army forces supervise a training session at Camp Taji, Iraq. Photo: Sabah Arar/AFP via Getty Images

Three American and two Iraqi service members were injured Saturday morning in a rocket attack on Camp Taji in Iraq, a base north of Baghdad, U.S. military spokesperson Army Col. Myles Caggins tweeted.

Driving the news: The U.S. targeted five Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah (KH) weapon storage facilities in Iraq on Thursday, following Wednesday's lethal attack that killed two U.S. service members, per the Department of Defense.

Go deeper: 2 U.S. service members killed by rocket attack in Iraq