Now we are in real trouble…. The holiday break is over, and lawmakers and officials are returning to town with a new Iran crisis unfolding.

By Rebecca Kheel

Let’s go back a bit….. 

In December, the United States blamed a rocket attack in Iraq that killed a U.S. contractor on an Iran-backed militia and responded with strikes on the militia. Supporters of the militia then stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Days later, the U.S. military killed Iranian Quds Forces leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike at the Baghdad International Airport, and Iran and the United States are now trading escalating threats of retaliation.

With the possibility of Iranian retaliation high, the House is set to vote this week on a war powers resolution aimed at limiting Trump’s military actions toward Iran.

“As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter announcing the resolution. “For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress’s war powers granted to it by the Constitution.”

Now in the Senate…

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday the chamber will have to vote on a resolution limiting Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.

Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, noted Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) had introduced a war powers resolution that would require Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from hostilities against Iran within 30 days without congressional signoff.

“That resolution will be privileged, so it will have to come to the floor,” Schumer said. “My colleagues, we’re going to vote on it.”

Kaine can force a vote on the Senate floor 10 days after his resolution was introduced. Both the House and the Senate resolution need a simple majority to make it to Trump’s desk, where they would likely face a veto.

In Iraq:

Confusion was the watchword in Iraq on Monday, as a letter circulated online suggesting U.S. troops would withdraw, followed by denials from the Pentagon.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters the letter — which said U.S. troops were preparing for “onward movement” — was a draft that should not have been released.

“That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released,” Milley told reporters in an off-camera briefing. “Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That’s not what’s happening.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also denied U.S. troops would withdraw from Iraq.

On Sunday, the Iraqi parliament approved a resolution to terminate the agreement that allows for U.S. troops in the country.

The resolution was nonbinding and subject to approval from the Iraqi government. But outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had urged his country’s parliament to end the foreign troop presence in his country.

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