House votes to bar Obama from sending troops to Iraq without authorization

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Friday for a resolution that would bar President Barack Obama from sending U.S. troops for any "sustained combat role" in Iraq without congressional authorization.

The House adopted the resolution by a vote of 370-40, reflecting the strong desire by both Republicans and Democrats in the chamber that the White House not act in Iraq without Congress' backing, although it was a largely symbolic vote.

To be enacted, the measure would require backing by the U.S. Senate, which is not expected, and even then it would not have the force of law.

It was introduced by Massachusetts Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, California Democrat Barbara Lee and Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina.

Supporting the law, House members said Congress must reclaim its control over authorizing military force after years in which both Republican and Democratic presidents have claimed their executive powers allow them to deploy troops.

"Congress has ceded too much of its power to the executive branch," McGovern said in a House speech before the vote.

The United States is ramping up its military presence in Iraq, deploying additional troops, helicopters and drone aircraft in response to security concerns in the face of advances by the Sunni Islamist militants.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Dan Grebler)