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US House votes to curb Trump powers to start Iran war

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The US House of Representatives voted Friday to restrict President Donald Trump’s ability to attack Iran, voicing fear that his hawkish policies are pushing toward a needless war.

The Democratic-led House approved an amendment on a broad defense bill that would prohibit funding for military operations against Iran unless they are in self-defense or explicitly approved by Congress.

But a similar measure failed in the Senate, where Trump’s Republican Party holds the majority. The two chambers will have to negotiate over the language as they finalize the defense bill.

Representative Ro Khanna, the Democrat who led the amendment, said the measure showed that the United States was fed up with war.

“Frankly, what it will prevent is what this president promised to the American people not to do — to get into another endless, costly war in the Middle East,” he said on the House floor.

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Trump, who walked out of a nuclear accord with Iran and instead slapped sweeping sanctions, last month authorized a strike on the Islamic republic after it shot down a US spy drone — but called it off at the last minute.

Trump has said he believes he has the legal right to attack Iran. US administrations have used an authorization of force passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001 attacks to justify a slew of operations around the world.

Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the amendment “reckless,” saying that the military should not be held up by a potentially lengthy legislative process.

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“This will tie our military’s hands at a perilous time. We need Iran and its terrorist proxies to think twice before they attack Americans, our friends or our interests,” he said.

But 27 Republicans plus Republican-turned-independent Justin Amash joined the overwhelming majority of Democrats in backing the amendment.

Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican who co-sponsored the amendment with Khanna, accused his colleagues of not leveling with US troops on why they could be sent to die.

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“My war-hungry colleagues — some of whom have already suggested that we invade Venezuela, North Korea and probably a few other countries before lunchtime tomorrow — if they’re so certain of their case against Iran, let them bring their authorization to use military force against Iran to this very floor,” he said.


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Campaigning from the Oval Office: Trump brags about ‘What I’ve done for the African-American’

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"We have fantastic relationships with the African-American community, certainly you're going to see that in 2020," Trump, in permanent campaign mode, says.

President Donald Trump on Monday was actively campaigning while sitting in the Oval Office during a visit with a foreign head of government. While not illegal, campaigning from within the White House is considered inappropriate, and previous presidents, like George W. Bush, have been pilloried for doing so.

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Illinois GOP embarrasses itself with meme calling four Democratic congresswomen ‘The Jihad Squad’

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Top leaders of the Illinois Republican Party sought to reverse damage on Sunday after posting a movie-style poster on Facebook that depicted four progressive congresswomen who have been repeatedly attacked by President Donald Trump in recent days as "The Jihad Squad."

This article was originally published at Salon

The poster, whose image was reportedly uploaded to the Facebook account of the Republican County Chairmen's Association of Illinois on Friday night, displayed images of the four newly elected congresswomen of color — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — who are often nicknamed "The Squad." It showed the lawmakers in film-style action poses with a smiling Pressley aiming a gun and Ocasio-Cortez donning a red evening dress that was on fire. Omar is seen pursing her lips and Tlaib is screaming.

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Democrats, White House near deal to raise debt ceiling

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US Democrats have nearly reached a deal with the Trump administration to raise the debt ceiling, allowing the government to borrow more money and avoid a disastrous default, sources close to the negotiations said Monday.

The "near-final agreement" would suspend the debt limit until the end of July 2021, and increase government spending by raising budget caps on defense and domestic outlays, one source said.

Republicans and Democrats have been hammering out the broad constructs of a deal for weeks as they faced calls to approve the agreement in the House by Friday, when the chamber begins a six-week recess.

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