House to Obama: No troops to Iraq without our OK

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm •  Published: July 25, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday that would bar President Barack Obama from sending forces to Iraq in a "sustained combat role" without congressional approval, a bill with greater symbolic than legal effect.

The nonbinding measure hasn't been debated in the Senate. Its language opens up several questions related to the Constitution's separation of powers between executive and legislative branches, even if Obama and his top military advisers already have ruled out sending combat troops to help Iraq fight extremist insurgents.

Friday's legislation was approved by a 370-40 vote after Republican and Democratic lawmakers emphasized the need to reassert what they argued is their constitutional control over authorizing military force.

"This resolution makes one clear statement," said its sponsor, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "If the president decides we should further involve our military in Iraq, he needs to work with Congress to authorize it."

"The time to debate our re-engagement in Iraq, should it come to that, is before we are caught in the heat of the moment," he said. "Not when the first body bags come home. Not when the first bombs start to fall. Not when the worst-case scenario is playing out on our TV screens."

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