Nancy Pelosi Announces Attempt To Clamp Down on Trump with War Powers Resolution
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Sunday letter to House Democrats wrote that a resolution will be introduced this week aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from taking further military action toward Iran without congressional authorization.
“As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe,” the letter reads, in part. “For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress’s war powers granted to it by the Constitution.”
“This week, the House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran,” Pelosi added.
“It 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.”
The speaker concluded, “Thank you for your patriotic leadership during this difficult time.”
The War Powers Resolution, also known as the War Powers Act, passed in 1973, requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours whenever military forces are brought “into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances.”
The law also requires the president to end foreign military actions after 60 days unless Congress declares war or passes an authorization for use of military force.
Past presidents have not always complied with its provisions and have questioned its constitutionality.
Ronald Reagan deployed military personnel to El Salvador in 1981 without seeking congressional authorization, according to History.com.
Bill Clinton continued a bombing campaign in Kosovo in 1999 beyond the 60-day limit required by the statute.
Barack Obama initiated military action in Libya in 2011 without congressional approval.
The Supreme Court has yet to address the constitutionality of the War Powers Act.
The Associated Press reported that Trump met “the 48-hour deadline required by the War Powers Act to notify Congress” via a Saturday communication, following the deadly drone strike on Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Pelosi responded to Trump’s notification in a news release on Saturday, stating, “This classified War Powers Act notification delivered to Congress raises more questions than it answers.”
“This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran,” she continued. “The highly unusual decision to classify this document in its entirety compounds our many concerns, and suggests that the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security.”
“The Trump Administration’s provocative, escalatory and disproportionate military engagement continues to put service members, diplomats and citizens of America and our allies in danger,” Pelosi said. “The Administration must work with the Congress to advance a bonafide de-escalatory strategy that prevents further violence.”
Trump appeared to respond to the speaker’s complaint with a Sunday tweet stating that if Iran strikes again, the U.S. will hit back.
“These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”
These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2020
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to “declare war” and “raise and support” the armed forces.
However, Article II, Section 2 names the president as commander in chief of the military.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Trump warned Iran not to strike back at the U.S., saying his administration has “targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
In a Friday news conference, Trump said his order to kill Soleimani — whom he called the “number-one terrorist anywhere in the world” — was intended to prevent a war, not start one.
“Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,” the president said regarding the Iranian general who was taken out near the Baghdad International Airport, while meeting with Tehran back militia leaders in Iraq.
Trump added that Soleimani’s Quds Force “has targeted, injured, and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen.”
Most recently, the general orchestrated rocket attacks in northern Kirkuk, Iraq, that resulted in the death of an American civilian and badly injured four U.S. servicemen.
“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said. “We did not take action to start a war.”
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