Responding to the controversial U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed a top Iranian general, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday that a prolonged military action against Iran will require congressional approval.
“The president does not have the authority for a war with Iran. If he plans a large increase in troops and potential hostility over a longer time, the administration will require congressional approval and the approval of the American people,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor.
The New York Democrat further questioned the administration’s broader strategy in the region and legal basis for the attack.
Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian commander and one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East, was killed in an airstrike on the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq at the direction of President Donald Trump, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Friday morning the decision to eliminate Soleimani was in response to “imminent threats to American lives” in the Middle East.
The assassination of Soleimani, one of the most ruthless operators in the region, triggered alarm in both the U.S. and around the world about an escalating conflict that could further destabilize the region and pull the U.S. into yet another Middle East war.
Nearly 3,000 more Army troops are heading to the Mideast in the wake of the killing of the Iranian general, Pentagon officials said Friday.
Iranian leaders on Friday vowed to take revenge against the United States, and U.S. personnel in Iraq were put on high alert. Around 5,200 American troops are based in Iraq, where they mainly train Iraqi forces and help to combat Islamic State militants.
Republicans broadly cheered Trump’s decision to conduct the strike on Friday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would be arranging an all-senators briefing on Iran action early next week.
“I recommend all senators wait to review the facts and hear from the administration before passing much public judgment on this operation and its potential consequences,” McConnell said.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who has tried for years to repeal the 2001 war authority successive administrations have used to engage in the military conflicts in the Middle East, announced Friday he plans to force a debate and vote in the Senate about U.S. hostilities with Iran under the War Powers Act of 1973.