On Thursday afternoon, the House of Representatives passed a pair of amendments aimed at curtailing President Trump’s war-making ability, particularly as it relates to attacking Iran. The amendments were added to the WW2 Merchant Mariner Gold Medal Act.
The first amendment, passed 228-175, noted that no military action against Iran could take place without prior Congressional authorization. Four Republicans joined most Democrats in voting for the measure, 21 abstained. Though this is legally speaking always the case, recent presidents have claimed the ability to start unilateral wars when Congress doesn’t explicitly preclude them.
The second amendment, passed 236-166, repeals the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq (AUMF). 11 Republicans joined most Democrats in voting for the measure, 22 Republicans did not vote. This AUMF was meant to allow the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Some have argued the AUMF also allows attacks in Syria and Iran, despite not specifically saying that, because they are close to Iraq.
The stronger Republican support for repealing the AUMF shows that party’s unity in pro-war legislation is starting to crack a bit. The AUMF vote was likely less controversial because President Trump suggested on Twitter that he didn’t object, and invited Representatives to “vote your heart.” He did, however, rail against the other vote.
The future of the legislation was uncertain in the Republican-led Senate, where an effort to pass an Iran-related war powers resolution has been stalled during Trump’s impeachment trial.