WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for congressional approval of any further military action against Iraq, but the fate of the same resolution in the Republican-controlled Senate is uncertain.
After a highly anticipated intelligence briefing Wednesday, Democrats said the White House failed to prove Iran posed an imminent threat against the U.S. before President Donald Trump ordered a strike that killed prominent Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Two Senate Republicans have sided with them.
“The actions we’ve seen from the Trump administration have actually increased violence and increased chaos,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who sits on the armed services committee, said.
He said the president’s actions, which prompted a retaliatory attack on a base in Iraq housing U.S. forces, brought the nation to the brink of war without congressional approval.
“They don’t have a plan, and you have to have diplomacy now. You can’t just be shooting at each other,” he said. “It’s very easy to start a war. It’s very, very difficult to stop one.”
No Americans were killed in Iran’s missile strike in Iraq and Trump said Wednesday that Iran appeared to be “standing down.”
Still, Peters said he supports the Democrat-backed resolutions to restrict the president from taking further action against Iran without first consulting Congress.
“I think it’s important (to have congressional approval) whenever we send men and woman into harm’s way,” Peters said.
But Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said the resolutions are just a political ploy.
“The president is on the path to de-escalate. There is no talk of going to war, and I know that the Democrats are trying to mislead people on this,” she said. “When President (Barack) Obama took out Osama bin Laden, they were not consulted either, and yet, you know what, we as Republicans, we all stood up and cheered.”
Trump has said he is working with NATO allies to help diffuse tensions in the Middle East.
“I hope this is a time where now both countries can just step back, take a deep breath,” Peters said.
He said he is looking for the administration to demonstrate it has a plan moving forward. Until then, he wants Congress to demand answers.