The House proposal – which was added to a sweeping $733 billion defense bill by a vote of 251-to-170 – would bar the Trump administration from using any federal funds for military force “in or against” the Islamic Republic, unless the president receives explicit congressional approval for a strike.
The underlying annual defense bill, passed on Friday by a vote of 220-to-197, also includes several other contentious provisions.
Recall Trump nearly bombed Iran last month after Tehran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone. Although the president called off the strike at the last minute, he has since threatened Iran with “obliteration” and warned that the U.S. would use “overwhelming force” if it attacked American assets or personnel.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump said Iran was treading on very dangerous territory. “Iran if you’re listening, you better be careful,” the president said.
Democrats say a war with Iran would be a prolonged and disastrous conflict – precisely the kind of “endless war” that Trump campaigned against in 2016. Some Republicans also fear that another war in the Middle East would be a terrible mistake, and there’s bipartisan concern that Congress has ceded too much of its war powers to the president in recent years.