Democrats bid to control armed action after Soleimani killing
The US House of Representatives has voted to stop President Donald Trump from taking additional military action against Iran.
It is the opening move in a Democratic-led campaign to reassert congressional authority over the use of force abroad.
The 224-to-194 vote, which came after the administration's senior national security officials briefed Congress about the strike that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, fell along party lines, with three Republicans and a Republican-turned-independent backing it.
Eight Democrats opposed the measure, which instructs Mr Trump "to terminate the use of United States armed forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military" unless Congress declares war or there is "an imminent armed attack upon the United States".
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The White House, with the help of most Republicans, has argued forcefully against the effort, asserting Mr Trump as commander-in-chief had undisputed legal justification to kill Major General Solei-mani in Baghdad without Congress' prior approval.
But Democrats and a handful of Republicans were so frustrated by the administration's resistance to fully involving Congress that the belated effort to engage Capitol Hill backfired - fuelling momentum for Thursday's vote.
Republican Matt Gaetz - a close Trump ally who publicly defended last week's strike on Soleimani - worked with Democrats to fine-tune the resolution, ultimately crossing the aisle on Thursday to support it.
"I support the president. Killing Soleimani was the right decision," Mr Gaetz said, announcing his yes vote.
"But engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision." he added.
But the critical forum is the Senate, where Democrats are in the minority and will need the help of at least four Republicans to pass a similar war powers resolution.
Put forward by Democrat Senator Tim Kaine, the measure could come up for a vote as early as next week.
Republican senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky have committed to supporting Mr Kaine's resolution, angrily telling journalists that administration officials had failed to specify when, if ever, they might seek Congress' approval for military strikes. (© Washington Post)