- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2020

A bill announced Friday by two progressives on Capitol Hill would prohibit funding offensive U.S. military action against Iran or its leaders without obtaining prior authorization from Congress.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, and Rep. Ro Khanna, California Democrat, announced the measure hours after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian official in Iraq.

The Department of Defense said President Trump authorized the airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, to prevent future attacks.

But Democratic critics of the decision have complained that Mr. Trump should have consulted Congress before launching the strike and risking further escalation with Iran.

In a statement, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Khanna said their legislation “blocks Pentagon funding for any unilateral actions this president takes to wage war against Iran without Congressional authorization.”

“At a time when we face the urgent need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, to build the housing we desperately need, and to address the existential crisis of climate change, we as a nation must get our priorities right,” they said in the statement. “The House and Senate should pass our legislation immediately and uphold our constitutional responsibilities. We must invest in the needs of the American people, not spend trillions more on endless wars.”

A similar measure restricting military funds was approved last year in the House of Representatives to be included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, but the language was ultimately removed from the version of the defense bill cleared by Congress in December, the lawmakers said.

Mr. Sanders, a candidate seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, is among several White House hopefuls who called the recent airstrike into question.

“President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond,” reacted fellow Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Fellow White House hopefuls including billionaire activist Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, have both described the airstrike as “reckless,” meanwhile.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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