Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may have pushed a resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s authority to act against Iranian aggression through the House on Thursday, but even the House speaker herself knew it was dead-on-arrival.
Pelosi accepted defeat from the start — according to Breitbart, the California Democrat didn’t even try to get the resolution passed by both the House and Senate then signed by the president. Instead, the outlet reports, Pelosi “structured [the measure] as a ‘concurrent resolution,’ which by definition will never make it to the president’s desk.”
Pelosi’s toothless resolution
The Pelosi-pushed resolution regarding the president’s war powers passed the House in a 224–194 vote. Three Republicans joined the majority of Democrats to vote in favor of the resolution, while eight Democrats abandoned Pelosi and joined the rest of the GOP in voting against it.
The three Republicans who voted in favor of the resolution were Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Thomas Massie (KY), and Francis Rooney (FL). But rather than rebuking the president, all three said they based their decisions on their principled belief that war powers are supposed to remain in the legislature rather than the White House.
The eight Democrats who skipped across the aisle to vote against the measure largely hailed from “swing” or Trump-supporting districts, or areas with a strong military presence. According to reports, their objections to the measure were largely centered around it being nothing more than a political ploy that would have no real impact.
Perhaps the bigger loss for Pelosi in all of this is that there may have been a chance for her resolution to have truly enjoyed bipartisan support — if it hadn’t been so politicized by the Democrats’ over-the-top reaction to the temporarily heightened tensions with Iran over the past couple of weeks.
Early last year, Pelosi successfully passed a similar War Powers Resolution through the House regarding Yemen. The move sought to prevent President Trump from providing military assistance to Saudi Arabia in the terrible conflict involving the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
At least 16 Republicans voted in favor of that resolution, 14 of whom bailed on this current go-round regarding Iran — almost certainly due to how it was so politicized it was.
While Pelosi’s resolution was, according to Breitbart, “meaningless” from the start — an admission of defeat though she’ll never say it out loud — there is a similar resolution seeking to restrain Trump’s hand with regard to Iran that is in the works in the Senate, one that actually could have some teeth to it.
As things stand right now, it appears that only two Senate Republicans — Mike Lee (UT) and Rand Paul (KY), for principled reasons — will back the measure concocted by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). With only 47 Democrats in the Senate, however, those two Republicans won’t be enough for Kaine’s measure to pass and move along to the House.
Had Pelosi and her fellow Democrats not overly politicized the matter over the past few days, it is possible that more Republicans in the Senate would consider supporting the move to, in essence, return the full power to authorize and declare martial action to Congress — a responsibility Congress abdicated for convenience and expediency many decades ago.
That is unlikely to occur at this point, but even if it did, and the House voted in agreement with the Senate resolution, President Trump would likely veto it in the same way he vetoed the Yemen resolution, placing us all back at Square One.