- Senate Democrats on Tuesday said they have enough votes to pass a resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action on Iran without congressional approval.
- Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who introduced the resolution, said four GOP senators have declared their support for the measure.
- Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Todd Young of Indiana will vote in favour of the measure in the GOP-controlled Senate, Kaine said.
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Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia on Tuesday said he has enough votes to pass his resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran without congressional approval.
Kaine told reporters “I’ve got 51 declared votes” on a revised version of the war powers resolution he’s introduced in 2020 amid heightened tensions with Iran that sparked fears of war.
The Virginia senator said Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Todd Young of Indiana will vote in favour of the measure in the GOP-controlled Senate.
“There are a number of other Republicans looking at it,” Kaine said. “We now have the 51 votes we need.”
Young on Tuesday said he did not support the first draft but would vote for the amended version of the measure. “It’s important that Congress at this time affirm our Article I responsibilities, so long as we don’t undermine the president’s Article II responsibilities, that’s all the Kaine resolution says,” Young said, per Politico.
Article I gives the Congress the power to declare war, while Article II establishes the president as the commander-in-chief, an authority that gives them wide latitude to manage the conduct of war.
The timing on the vote for the resolution is still up in the air, particularly with an impending Senate impeachment trial for Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told he believed a majority of senators would vote to approve the resolution, as he called Trump’s foreign policy “impulsive, erratic, egotistical, and often reckless.”
“We will work out the timing,” Schumer said. “We have to figure out how it intersects with impeachment but we believe this resolution is the right way to go.”
Last week, the Democratic-controlled House passed a resolution to bar Trump from taking military action against Iran without congressional authorization, but it was a concurrent resolution and does not require the president’s signature. Republicans have dismissed the House war powers resolution as non-binding and symbolic.
In early January, Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Iran’s most important military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Iran retaliated with a missile attack on US and coalition forces in Iraq, but no US forces were killed and the two countries have since moved away from a wider conflict.
The Trump administration has offered inconsistent justifications for the deadly Soleimani strike, which also killed a powerful Iraqi militia leader, which have raised questions among lawmakers surrounding the necessity of the order and whether the administration had carefully considered how this targeted killing could instigate a major conflict with Iran.
In April, Trump vetoed a bipartisan resolution that aimed to end US involvement in the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen. It was the first war powers resolution to pass with bipartisan support but Congress ultimately lacked the votes to override Trump’s veto.
“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump said at the time.
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