U.S. House to vote this week on Slotkin resolution limiting Trump’s Iran action

President Donald J. Trump disembarks Air Force One at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. Tuesday, September 17, 2019, en route to Palo Alto, Calif. | . Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain

In a “Dear colleague” letter to Democrats dated Sunday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed President Trump’s “provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials” and announced a vote this week on a War Powers Resolution to limit his military actions in Iran.

Among those killed was Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani. Iran has vowed revenge and Iraq’s parliament voted to expel U.S. troops. Trump issued incendiary tweets on Saturday, appearing to possibly endorse committing war crimes by targeting cultural sites in the Middle Eastern country.

On Sunday, Trump also dismissed criticism from congressional leaders, who weren’t informed of the attack, by tweeting that they were thereby notified on Twitter that if Iran strikes “any U.S. person or target the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner.”

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, a constitutional lawyer and the chamber’s lone independent, didn’t take kindly to Trump’s tweet and posted one of his own that the president is legally obligated to get congressional approval for military action, complete with images of the Constitution.

Pelosi said that the House resolution will led by freshman U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), who the speaker noted is a former CIA and Department of Defense analyst specializing in Shia militias” who “served multiple tours in the region under both Democratic and Republican Administrations.”

In a statement on Monday, Slotkin addressed the overall situation in Iraq, recent history and what the impact could be if U.S. forces leave.

“The question many Americans are likely asking following the Iraqi parliament’s vote to expel U.S. troops from Iraq: Why does it matter if we are kicked out of Iraq?” I certainly understand why many Americans would question why we’d want to stay, given the blood and treasure we have invested in that part of the world,” she said.

Slotkin says war with Iran would be ‘long, entrenched’ fight

“First and foremost, our presence in Iraq helps ensure that ISIS doesn’t regenerate and regain the ability to threaten the United States, Europe and the Middle East. After U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, it took ISIS only two short years to gain power. Mosul and Raqqa, the two ISIS power centers in their self-proclaimed caliphate were finally liberated in 2017,” she said. “The second reason to stay is, ironically, the same reason the President chose to go after Qasim Soleimani: to counterbalance Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East.”

Slotkin said if we are asked to leave Iraq, “it gives the Iranian government a freer hand in Iraq … to expand the capabilities of the Shia militias and Iran’s placement of ballistic missiles in Iraq, which can project violence into places like Saudi Arabia and Israel. This last issue could be a game changer.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pelosi wrote Trump’s action “endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran. As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe.  For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress’s war powers granted to it by the Constitution.”

The resolution mandates that if no further congressional action is taken, the administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran must cease within 30 days.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is introducing a similar resolution in the GOP-led U.S. Senate, which is not expected to take action. The Senate voted this summer to prohibit an unauthorized military attack on Iran or its armed forces, with U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) voting for it, although it failed to meet the 60-vote threshold.

Several Democrats in Michigan’s congressional delegation have criticized Trump’s action.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence | Andrew Roth

“This administration carried out high-level military action without an authorization of military force from Congress. The president must convince this body and the American people, that he has the ability to act and think strategically,” said U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield). “I am not convinced that he has thought through the consequences of our military actions. Therefore, there must be an immediately briefing of the full Congress to guarantee the country has a comprehensive plan to address any retaliation, as well as the possible increased deployment of troops to the Middle East.”

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) came out strongly against war with Iran.

“The drone strike in Iraq ordered by the Trump Administration is yet another reckless action made with no regard for the checks and balances set out by our Constitution. Such provocative actions will put even more lives, both at home and abroad, in danger,” she said. “We have an entire generation of people and children who have only known a United States at war. We cannot stay silent as this lawless President recklessly engages in actions that move us closer to yet another unnecessary war that will undoubtedly result in more bloodshed. The President is not a king and this is not a monarchy, this is a democracy. Therefore, as a co-equal branch of government and the body with the sole authority to declare war, Congress must clearly say no to war with Iran.”

Column: Trump’s Iran attack is a reminder Congress has to reclaim its war-making authority

However, U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) said in a statement that the “United States must continue to defend itself.”

Iran has long been an adversary of and has become increasingly belligerent toward the United States and its allies. General Soleimani was the central figure in planning and executing Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of American service members in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. The United States must continue to defend itself and its allies and must be prepared to address any response Iran chooses to pursue.”

Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.