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2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution ‘because it merely restated existing law’

Two of the Democrats who voted against the war powers resolution that passed the House with a majority of the party’s support said they did so because the “symbolic vote” was a distraction that didn’t help fix the “real challenges” facing the Congress. 

“We voted against the War Powers Resolution that the House passed this week because it merely restated existing law,” Reps. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Max Rose (D-N.Y.) wrote in an op-ed published in The New York Times on Sunday. 

“It addressed a de-escalated conflict with a symbolic vote that did more to distract than to fix the real challenges we face,” the Democrats added. 

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Luria and Rose noted their own experiences serving in the Middle East while arguing against the war power resolution in the op-ed. The Democrats said that if Congress “wants to assert its power to declare war,” lawmakers need to debate a new Authorization of Use of Military Force, or AUMF. 

“That is where decisions of war and peace are made,” they wrote. 

Luria and Rose were among the eight Democrats to vote against the resolution. Two Republicans, Reps. Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Francis Rooney (Fla.), joined most Democrats to vote in favor of the measure, which is aimed at reining in President Trump’s military action toward Iran in the wake of a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. 

Luria and Rose wrote that Trump, who did not inform Congress of the strike before it was launched, was “within his right to order this attack and is now correctly de-escalating the conflict with the clear mandate that we must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability.”

“We are not at war with Iran, and no president can engage in war without congressional approval. But the commander in chief holds the authority and responsibility to target hostile combatants who threaten American forces and civilians,” they wrote. “The War Powers Resolution passed by the House this week sends the wrong message to the American people and the world that our nation is heading toward or is currently engaged in war with Iran. Neither are true.”

Luria and Rose wrote that Congress needs to debate “how we move forward” rather than “whether the president had authority” to order Soleimani’s killing. 

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