Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House voted 224-194 on Thursday in favor of a symbolic war powers resolution directing President Trump to halt the use of military force against Iran unless he obtains approval from Congress.

The big picture: A classified briefing Wednesday on the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani left Democrats and even some Republicans deeply skeptical, with many claiming that officials did not provide evidence that there was an "imminent" threat from Iran.

  • Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said they will vote in favor of a similar resolution in the Senate, but the bill is not expected to pass without additional Republican defections.
  • Three Republicans and independent Rep. Justin Amash voted in favor of the House bill. Eight Democrats, mostly moderates, voted against it.

The state of play: Following a week in which the U.S. and Iran appeared to be on the brink of war, tensions between the two countries seem to have momentarily subsided.

  • Retaliatory Iranian missile strikes on Tuesday did not result in any U.S. casualties, and Trump claimed in an address to the nation that Iran "appears to be standing down."

Between the lines: Even if it was passed by the Senate, the House resolution is non-binding and would not go to the president's desk for a signature. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday, "This is a statement of the Congress of the United States. I will not have that statement diminished by having the president veto it or not."

What they're saying: Former national security adviser and notorious Iran hawk John Bolton tweeted: "The 1973 War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Constitution allocated foreign affairs authority between the President and Congress. The Resolution should be repealed."

  • President Trump quote tweeted Bolton on Thursday and added: "Smart analysis, I fully agree!"
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of the president's most loyal allies in Congress, was one of the few Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution, stating on the House floor: "I support the president. Killing Soleimani was the right decision, but engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision."

What to watch: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation that would block funding for offensive military force against Iran without congressional authorization.

  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is also seeking to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used repeatedly to justify war in the Middle East in the wake of 9/11. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF in 2001, criticizing it as a "blank check."

Go deeper: GOP Sen. Mike Lee calls Soleimani briefing the "worst" he's ever seen

Go deeper

Biden condemns Proud Boys: "Cease and desist"

Joe Biden told reporters on Wednesday that his message to all white supremacist groups is to "cease and desist. That’s not who we are. This is not who we are as Americans."

Driving the news: President Trump was asked specifically about the far-right group Proud Boys at the debate Tuesday night, and rather than condemning them, the president said, "Proud Boys: Stand back and standby."

The national security risks hiding in Trump's debts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The blockbuster New York Times report on President Trump’s taxes reveals that the president is $421 million in debt, with more than $300 million coming due during Trump’s potential second term — and the identities of the president’s creditors remain unknown.

Why it matters: If some, or all, of this debt is held by foreign actors, it raises serious national security implications.

1 hour ago - World

House report: U.S. intelligence agencies have failed to adapt to China threat

Xi Jinping and other Chinese politicians and delegates listen to the national anthem duirng the closing of the 19th Communist Party Congress in 2017. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday released a report finding that the U.S. intelligence community has failed to adapt to the growing threat from China, arguing that it will struggle to compete on the global stage for decades to come if it does not implement major changes.

The big picture: The 200-page report, based on thousands of analytic assessments and hundreds of hours of interviews with intelligence officers, determined that the intelligence community's focus on counterterrorism after 9/11 allowed China "to transform itself into a nation potentially capable of supplanting the United States as the leading power in the world."

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!