Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pelosi: Bush lacks power to invade Iran

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) said Thursday that President Bush lacks the authority to invade Iran without specific approval from Congress, a fresh challenge to the commander in chief on the eve of a symbolic vote critical of his troop buildup in Iraq.

Pelosi, D-Calif., noted that Bush consistently said he supports a diplomatic resolution to differences with Iran "and I take him at his word."

At the same time, she said, "I do believe that Congress should assert itself, though, and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran."

Pelosi spoke in an interview in the Capitol as the House moved through a third marathon day of debate on a nonbinding measure that disapproves of the military buildup in Iraq while expressing support for the troops.

Passage of the measure was expected Friday, and across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record) unexpectedly announced plans to hold a test vote Saturday.

Partisan bickering has prevented a Senate vote on the troop increase, with Republicans insisting on equal treatment for an alternative rules out the "elimination or reduction of funds for troops in the field."

Pelosi and other Democrats have said approval on the nonbinding measure would mark the first step in an effort by the new Democratic-controlled Congress to force Bush to change course in a war that has killed more than 3,100 U.S. troops.


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