Jan. 9, 2020 by David Silverberg
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) defied President Donald Trump and Republican Party discipline tonight and was one of only three Republicans voting for House Concurrent Resolution 83 (HConRes) calling for restrictions on Trump’s ability to go to war with Iran.
In another astonishing vote, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-1-Fla.), a vociferous Trump defender, also voted for the resolution. The third Republican breaking ranks was Rep. Thomas Massie (R-4-Ky.).
Southwest Florida Reps. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) voted the party line against the resolution.
The final vote was 224 to 194, largely along party lines. Eight Democrats voted against the resolution.
As a concurrent resolution, the measure is not a law, is non-binding and does not require the president’s signature. Rather, it expresses the sentiment of both houses of Congress concurrently. Despite this, concurrent resolutions can be powerful indicators of congressional opinion.
As of this writing, Rooney had not issued a statement regarding his vote.
The resolution directs the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.
“Over the past eight months, in response to rising tensions with Iran, the United States has introduced over 15,000 additional forces into the Middle East. The killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, as well as Iran’s ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases, risks significant escalation in hostilities between the United States and Iran,” states the text of the resolution. “When the United States uses military force, the American people and members of the United States Armed Forces deserve a credible explanation regarding such use of military force.”
While the resolution calls for termination of hostilities against Iran unless there is a declaration of war or a need to defend against imminent attack, it calls on the president to consult with Congress “in every possible instance” before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities as required in the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541).
In an 8:20 am tweet, Trump stated: “Hope that all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution.”
Gaetz explained his vote on Twitter and in a floor statement: “I represent more troops than any other member of this body. I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington. If our service members have the courage to fight and die in these wars, Congress ought to have the courage to vote for or against them. I’m voting for this resolution.”
Steube also issued his statement on Twitter: “Today I voted against House Concurrent Resolution 83, also known as the War Powers Resolution. This resolution puts House Democrats’ political agenda ahead of American security by limiting the ability of the president to respond to imminent threats on American and our interests. During these uncertain times, the president must have the ability to take decisive action against the terrorist Iranian regime.”
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.) denounced Trump’s attitude toward Congress as “disdainful” given his lack of consultation. She said the killing of Soleimani had not made the United States any safer.
“We must avoid war,” Pelosi told Mary Bruce of ABC News. “And the cavalier attitude of this administration, it’s stunning. The president will say, ‘I inform you by reading my tweets.’ No, that’s not the relationship that our founders had in mind in the Constitution of the United States when they gave power to the White House to do one thing in terms of our national security and to the Congress to declare war and to allocate resources and the rest.
“It’s a very big issue now because it’s nothing less than preventing war as we honor our first responsibility to protect the American people,” she said.
Liberty lives in light
© 2020 by David Silverberg