U.S. House votes to limit Iran warmaking ability, heads to veto fight

Washington (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to wage war against Iran, amid continuing concern about broader conflict after a January strike killed an Iranian commander.

The House voted 227 to 186 in favour of the war powers resolution, the latest effort by Congress to wrest back from the president its constitutionally guaranteed authority to declare war. Almost every Democrat voted in favour of the resolution. Just six of Trump’s fellow Republicans supported it.

The measure – authored by Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine – would require Trump to remove U.S. troops engaged in hostilities against Iran unless Congress declares war or passes a specific authorization for the use of military force.

“It’s our responsibility to do something because we know the tensions could flare up again at a moments notice,” said Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urging a “yes” vote.

Trump has been engaged in a maximum pressure campaign of renewed sanctions and near-constant rhetorical conflict against Iran, after pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal reached during the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama.

The Senate passed the war powers resolution last month, so approval sends it to the White House, where Trump has promised a veto.

Although eight of Trump’s fellow Republicans in the Senate – who rarely break from the president’s policies – joined Democrats to support the resolution in that chamber, the resolution was not expected to muster the two-thirds majorities in both chambers to override a veto.