The Democrat-led House voted Friday to block President Trump from taking military actions against Iran without first seeking Congressional approval – a vote which had the support of more than two dozen Republicans, much to John Bolton’s chagrin.
According to the Washington Post, the vote will likely ensure a showdown with the GOP-controlled Senate over whether the restriction will be included in the final bill negotiated between the two chambers. Of note, the House version contains an exception for cases of self-defense.
Republicans in both the House and Senate have argued that such language would embolden Tehran amid a ‘divided’ Congress.
“Our national security is not a game. But that is exactly how Democrats are treating it,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Friday morning.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) pushed back, saying that Republicans “can opposite it, that’s fine, but to say we don’t care about national security . . . is a baldfaced lie.”
“In fact, our bill isn’t just good, it’s better than the ones that the Republican Party has put together, because we believe the Pentagon should be accountable,” added Smith.
At the center of the Iran amendment is a dispute over how much money should be allocated to the Pentagon and military this year. While Trump and the Republicans want $750 billion, the House bill limits it to $733 billion – a figure Smith says military leaders have previously endorse.
The Iran amendment is just one of several high-profile measures that lawmakers voted this week to include in the first defense authorization bill Democrats have steered through the House since taking over the majority earlier this year. Those measures, which range from ending U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen to undoing President Trump’s ban on transgender troops, helped secure the support of liberal Democrats from the congressional Progressive Caucus, who had previously warned that they might vote against the defense bill. –Washington Post
Liberal Democrats, meanwhile say $733 billion is still too steep vs. the current fiscal year’s $717 billion allocation, and have proposed a $16.8 billion reduction to war funding – an effort which failed in the House.