The resolution requires the president to deliver a report to Congress within 48 hours of any offence that is not based on a formal declaration of war
The US House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution early this morning to remind President Donald Trump of the key role of Congress in any attack abroad, in an attempt to get muscle out of possible new “military actions” of the White House against Iran.
With 224 votes in favor and 194 against, the Democratic majority in the lower house brought forward a motion aimed at demonstrating their discomfort with the fact that the Trump administration did not notify them in advance of the operation that last day 3 ended with the life of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
To avoid a predictable Trump veto, the Democrats chose a legal formula that is considered approved once both houses of Congress ratify it, and that does not require the president’s signature, even though that detracts from the force of law.
The resolution is based on the War Powers Act of 1973 and requires the president to deliver a report to Congress within 48 hours of any offence that is not based on a formal declaration of war.
Once he sends that report, the president must stop any military action within 60 days, with a possible extension of another 30, unless Congress formally declares war or approves a specific authorization for that military action abroad.
The text focuses exclusively on a possible conflict with Iran, despite the fact that both Washington and Tehran on Wednesday expressed their willingness to move away from the prospect of a military confrontation. “Congress has not authorized the president to use military force against Iran,” recalls the resolution.
Although Trump did not inform Congress before the operation against Soleimani, he did notify lawmakers before the 48-hour limit required by law, but he did so through a confidential document.
The Democrats plan to push for a similar resolution next week in the Senate, but the Republican majority in that chamber complicates the approval of that text, which would call on Trump to end in 30 days any military action against Iran not authorized by Congress.