WASHINGTON - The U.S House of Representatives voted on Thursday to limit President Donald Trump's ability to use military force against Iran. The House passed the "War Powers" resolution largely along party lines, by a vote of 224-194. There were eight Democratic lawmakers who voted against the resolution, and three Republicans who supported it.
The resolution is now expected to go up for a vote in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority. So far, two Republican Senators - Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky - have announced their support for the resolution. In order for it to pass the Senate and take effect, the resolution will have to attract the support of two more Republicans.
President Trump has called on members of his party to oppose the resolution, which will require him to seek congressional approval before taking further military action against Iran.
During an election rally in Ohio on Thursday night, Trump said that he did not want to brief Democratic members of Congress about military strikes because they would leak it to the press. He also said that the resolution limiting his ability to conduct such strikes was unnecessary because he is not aiming to have a war with Iran.
Trump said earlier this week that he does not seek war with Iran, and wants instead to hold new negotiations with the country over a comprehensive nuclear agreement.
Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida, chairman of the House sub-committee on the Middle East, explained why he voted for the resolution: "Before any president makes the solemn decision to send American forces to war, he or she must come before Congress to provide justification and seek authority for the use of military force. Our brave service members and their loved ones deserve no less. Our Constitution requires no less."
Public opinion polls that were published in recent days in the U.S. showed that a majority of American voters do not want a war with Iran, and are concerned about one breaking out.
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Trump broke precedent by failing to inform congressional leaders before ordering the drone strike that killed elite Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week. He angered some lawmakers, particularly Democrats, by making classified his formal report to Congress about the strike as he sent more troops to the Middle East.
The U.S. Constitution grants Congress, not the president, the right to declare war.