On Thursday, vocal Trump supporter Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) joined Democrats in voting for the Democrat-sponsored War Powers Resolution, which seeks to limit President Donald Trump’s authority to take prolonged military action against Iran without congressional approval.
As noted by NBC News, the resolution “directs the president to terminate the use of U.S. armed forces to engage in hostilities against Iran unless Congress has declared war or enacted a specific authorization or unless military action is necessary to defend against an imminent attack.”
The president and many Republicans have voiced their opposition to the measure.
“The president has the right and duty to protect this nation and our citizens from terrorism. That’s what he continues to do, and the world is safer for it,” a statement read from White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley. “This House resolution tries to undermine the ability of the U.S. Armed Forces to prevent terrorist activity by Iran and its proxies, and attempts to hinder the president’s authority to protect America and our interests in the region from the continued threats.”
Speaking on the House floor, Gaetz explained his support for the resolution.
“This resolution offers no criticism of the president — no critique. It doesn’t criticize the president’s attack on Soleimani. Matter of fact, this resolution doesn’t even say Soleimani’s name it,” the Republican said, according to TheBlaze.
“I represent more troops than any other member of this body. I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington,” he continued. “If our servicemembers have the courage to fight and die in these wars, Congress ought to have the courage to vote for or against them.”
During a Fox News appearance on Thursday, Gaetz said the resolution “did say that if any president wants to drag our nation into another forever Middle East war, that they require the approval of the United States Congress. That’s something that I deeply believe, and I think it’s something the president deeply believes.”
Before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) went after the president for killing terrorist and Iranian terrorist general Qassem Soleimani last week.
“Last week, in our view, the administration conducted a provocative disproportionate airstrike against Iran which endangered Americans, and did so without consulting Congress,” Pelosi said.
“Asked whether the Trump administration misled the public in justifying the airstrike, Pelosi said that while she can’t share the classified information that she has been briefed on, ‘I do not believe in terms of what is in the public domain that they have made the country safer by what they did,'” NBC News detailed.
Republicans argue that the resolution is non-binding.
“The bill is what’s known as a ‘concurrent resolution,’ meaning it requires only the approval of both chambers of Congress and does not go to the president for his signature. Republicans argue this makes the bill non-binding and largely symbolic,” CBS News outlined.
Two other Republicans, Reps. Thomas Massie (KY) and Francis Rooney (FL), also voted in favor of the resolution.
I represent more troops than any other member of this body. I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington.
If our servicemembers have the courage to fight and die in these wars, Congress ought to have the courage to vote for or against them.
I’m voting for this resolution. pic.twitter.com/cSCBG7CmIm
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 9, 2020