Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., broke ranks with most of his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives on Thursday to vote in favor of a resolution limiting President Trump’s ability to wage war with Iran.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz broke ranks with most of his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives on Thursday to vote in favor of a resolution limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to wage war with Iran without congressional approval.
Geatz’s vote came on the same day a Green Beret with the Eglin Air Force Base-headquartered Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) who died in Afghanistan last month was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Gaetz’s district includes Eglin and a number of other military installations, and is home to a large number of active-duty military personnel.
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
The resolution, which passed the Democratic-majority House by a vote of 224-194, is now headed to the Republican-majority Senate for consideration.
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“I represent more troops than any member of this body,” Gaetz said during a brief speech from the House floor explaining his vote. “I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington, and that sergeant died a patriot and a hero.“
Gaetz’s reference was to Sgt. 1st Class Michael Goble, a member of the 7th Group’s 1st Battalion who died Dec. 23 from injuries he suffered the previous day when a Taliban weapons cache exploded in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province.
“If the members of our armed services have the courage to go and fight and die in these wars, as Congress, we ought to have the courage to vote for them or against them,” Gaetz said.
I spoke to @POTUS today and he told me he’s more anti-war than I am.
This resolution did not criticize the president. It said if any president wants to drag our nation into war Congress must approve it.
That’s something I believe and something I think @POTUS deeply believes. pic.twitter.com/pScotpCtO2
The resolution, which is specific to Iran, calls on the president "to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran" unless Congress either declares war or provides the president with some specific statutory authority to use armed force against Iran.
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However, the resolution provides an exception to its reining in of the president, allowing for the use of armed force if necessary to “defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States."
The vote on the resolution sponsored by freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Michigan, came just days after an American rocket strike in Iraq killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Solemani, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force.
The vote also came less than two days after Iranian missiles were fired at Al-Asad Air Base, a military installation in Iraq used by Iraqi and American forces. There were no reported casualties in that attack.
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Gaetz was one of three Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution, along with fellow Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, and Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie.
Gaetz, a staunch supporter of President Trump, also used his time on the House floor to contend that his vote was not an abandonment of the president.
“I take a back seat to no member of this body when it comes to defending the president,” Gaetz said. “This resolution offers no criticism of the president ... .”
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But, Gaetz added, the resolution “articulates our non-delegable duties as members of the United States Congress to speak to matters of war and peace.”
“I support the president,” Gaetz also said. “Killing Solemani was the right decision, but engaging in another ’forever war’ in the Middle East would be the wrong decision ... .”