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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 The Resolution should be repealed."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

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.

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