- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 11, 2020

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida pressed fellow Republicans to vote alongside him to limit President Trump’s authority to take military action against Iran, according to a report published Friday.

Devin Murphy, the congressman’s legislative director, lobbied other members of the GOP to join Mr. Gaetz in supporting a Democratic-sponsored war powers resolution restricting the president’s authority to attack Iran, The Washington Post reported.

“Reclaiming Congressional power is the Constitutional conservative position!” he wrote in an email sent ahead of the House considering the resolution Thursday, The Post reported.

“It simply seeks to reclaim some of the Article 1 authority that we’ve ceded to the Executive over the past 20 years,” the email said, according to the newspaper. “It states that only Congress has the authority to declare war, and that Congress has not authorized military force against Iran.”

The resolution was passed hours later by a margin of 224-to-194, with Mr. Gaetz being among only three Republican members of the House to vote in its favor.

Mr. Gaetz, one of the president’s fiercest and most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill, “surprised” Mr. Trump by urging fellow Republicans to pass the resolution, the report said.

Mr. Trump, according to the newspaper, “fiercely complained about Gaetz” after learning from aides that the congressman’s office sent the email seeking support for the resolution.

“The Trump administration was disappointed in the congressman’s vote and is hopeful that as the president’s foreign policy continues to unfold, he will reconsider his points of view,” said Eric Ueland, the head of legislative affairs for the White House, The Post reported.

A spokesperson for the congressman did not immediately return a message sent over the weekend requesting comment.

The House voted to pass the war powers resolution on the heels of U.S. forces launching an airstrike last week that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, without first notifying Congress.

The resolution “directs the President 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 approved by Congress or if “such use of the Armed Forces is necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States.”

“We must use this tool of congressional tool of congressional power, or by our silence acquiesce to the growth of the imperial presidency,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said prior to the vote Thursday.

Besides Mr. Gaetz, two other House Republicans, Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida and Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, voted in favor of the resolution. Eight Democrats broke with their party and voted against it.

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