U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act aimed at keeping U.S. troops out of combat operations in Iraq.
“Given that the President has invoked the War Powers Resolution, and has broad authorities granted to him under this law, our priority must be ensuring that he complies with it and does not involve U.S. troops in combat operations,” Hanabusa said in a written statement. “I have opposed U.S. involvement in Iraq since 2002, and believe that further military involvement lacks an effective objective or a solid endgame. My amendment is simple; it would ensure that the president does not circumvent his granted authorities to unilaterally commit U.S. forces to operations in Iraq.”
The amendment would prevent the administration from using funds from the Defense Appropriations Act for the “introduction of United States forces into hostilities in Iraq” that would circumvent the War Powers Resolution.
Earlier this week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a two-combat tour Iraqi veteran, said she opposes U.S. airstrikes on militants in Iraq.
Gabbard, a captain in Hawaii Army National Guard, told CNN: “The Iraqi people have to own their future, form a unity government, and stop the violence.”
President Barack Obama has shifted his focus away from airstrikes in Iraq as an imminent option for slowing the Islamist insurgency, in part because there are few clear targets the U.S. could hit, officials said Monday.
The president summoned top congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday afternoon to discuss the collapsing security situation. The relentless violence marks the greatest threat to Iraq’s stability since the U.S. military withdrew at the end of 2011 after more than eight years of war.
Ahead of his meeting at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the U.S. had no business sending troops into the midst of what he called Iraq’s civil war.
“It’s time for the Iraqis to resolve it themselves,” said Reid, a Nevada Democrat. Taking on Republicans who have blamed the current violence on the withdrawal of U.S. forces, Reid said, “Those who attack President Obama for bringing our troops home from Iraq are wrong and out of step with the American people. After a decade of war, the American people have had enough.”
Obama has ruled out returning combat troops to Iraq in order to quell the insurgency. However, he has notified Congress that up to 275 armed U.S. forces are being positioned in and around Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. interests.
Obama is also considering sending a small contingent of special operations forces to help train the Iraqi military, officials have said. Other options under consideration include boosting Iraq’s intelligence about the militants and, more broadly, encouraging the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad to become more inclusive.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.