House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that the House will take up a pair of measures further restricting President Donald Trump’s military powers by month’s end.
The announcement comes shortly after a meeting in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, in which anti-war advocates Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) made a concerted push for the legislation amid last week’s dramatic flare-up in tensions with Iran.
“It’s time to repeal this measure,” Hoyer said in a statement to POLITICO. “I want to thank Rep. Lee, Rep. Khanna, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus for working closely with the House Democratic leadership to ensure the broadest possible support for these measures.”
The two measures will head to the floor when the House returns from next week’s Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. That commitment marks another big win for progressives, days after the House passed a separate bipartisan resolution to curb Trump’s war powers.
“The goal is to get a big vote on it,” Khanna said after the meeting with Pelosi and Hoyer. “It was very productive, it was very helpful.”
Democrats are planning to vote for the first time on a standalone measure to repeal the 2002 authorization of military force, or AUMF, which has justified Pentagon strikes in countries like Yemen, Somalia and now Iran.
Lee, who opposed the AUMF in Iraq under then-President George W. Bush, has led the push to repeal it for decades.
The House will also vote on Khanna’s bill to prohibit funding for any military offensive against Iran without congressional approval. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
This month’s Democratic-led effort, spurred by Trump’s killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani without congressional consultation, marks the strongest challenge to a White House’s war authorities since Congress debated cutting off funding for the Iraq War in 2006.
Both measures have received support from across the Democratic caucus, as well as some Republicans, over the last year — but never in standalone votes on the floor.
Khanna’s language to restrict funds was included in an amendment to a defense policy bill that passed the House in July, but was later stripped out in final negotiations with the Senate. Lee’s resolution, too, was approved as an amendment to the defense policy bill, but taken out before it became law.
The two bills are expected to be considered separately on the floor.
Both Khanna and Lee — as well as others in the Congressional Progressive Caucus — had pushed for both measures to be taken up this week, with the U.S.-Iran conflict still in full view.
“Finally Congress will have an opportunity to reassert our voice on military action,” CPC Co-Chairs Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal said in a statement.
“As we have learned more about the airstrikes, it’s become even more apparent that the White House manufactured reasons to drag us into a completely avoidable military escalation,” they wrote.
But Pelosi and Hoyer had argued that the votes should take place after the House has officially sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
“They both have a great point, that we should do it when we have the maximum attention, not to be swallowed up by the focus on impeachment,” Khanna said. “They want to do it at a time when it will get the attention it deserves.”