The newly-announced defense policy legislation does not limit President Trump’s authorities to launch a war with Iran, dropping a bipartisan provision requiring the president to get explicit congressional authorization for military action against Tehran.
The omission from the text of the proposed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act was a defeat for progressive Democrats and some conservative Republicans, who have long fought to limit the president’s ability to initiate a war with Iran without the approval of Congress.
In the House, the amendment was pushed by California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, one of Mr. Trump’s most vociferous defenders in the current impeachment controversy.
The congressional authorization question attracted new attention earlier this year at the height of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, amid widespread fears that Mr. Trump was poised to order airstrikes against Tehran in response to the downing of an unmanned American spy drone.
Mr. Khanna announced he would be voting ‘no’ on the final passage of the $738 billion NDAA bill.
The National Iranian American Council cited the near-strike in condemning the decision by House and Senate negotiators to drop the restriction on military action against Iran, calling it “legislative malpractice.”