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Senate Has Votes to Pass Limits on Trump’s Iran War Power, Likely Drawing a Veto Senate Has Votes to Pass Limits on Trump’s Iran War Power, Likely Drawing a Veto
(32 minutes later)
WASHINGTON — A measure that would force President Trump to win congressional authorization before taking further military action against Iran now has enough Republican support to pass the Senate, a key Democratic senator said Tuesday.WASHINGTON — A measure that would force President Trump to win congressional authorization before taking further military action against Iran now has enough Republican support to pass the Senate, a key Democratic senator said Tuesday.
The senator, Tim Kaine of Virginia, said at least four Republicans would break ranks to pass a bill to curtail Mr. Trump’s war-making powers, underscoring growing dissatisfaction with the president’s Iran strategy among members of his own party. It would be a rebuke to the president as his impeachment trial gets underway and will likely set up the seventh veto his presidency. The senator, Tim Kaine of Virginia, said at least four Republicans would break ranks to pass a bill to curtail Mr. Trump’s war-making powers, underscoring growing dissatisfaction with the president’s Iran strategy among members of his own party. It would be a rebuke to the president as his impeachment trial gets underway and will likely set up the seventh veto of his presidency.
The Republican defectors “were discouraged that the attitude that was being communicated to us was that Congress was an annoyance,” Mr. Kaine said. “After that, they came to me and we have been able to make some amendments.”The Republican defectors “were discouraged that the attitude that was being communicated to us was that Congress was an annoyance,” Mr. Kaine said. “After that, they came to me and we have been able to make some amendments.”
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the Republican defectors, said in a statement that “Congress cannot be sidelined on these important decisions.” She said that although the resolution would continue to allow Mr. Trump to repel an imminent attack, “only the legislative branch may declare war or commit our armed forces to a sustained military conflict with Iran.” Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the Republicans who will support the measure, said in a statement that “Congress cannot be sidelined on these important decisions.” She said that although the resolution would continue to allow Mr. Trump to repel an imminent attack, “only the legislative branch may declare war or commit our armed forces to a sustained military conflict with Iran.”
Joining her in planning to vote with the Democrats were Senators Todd Young of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.Joining her in planning to vote with the Democrats were Senators Todd Young of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Lawmakers have grown increasingly angry over Mr. Trump’s shifting justifications for a Jan. 3 strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important general, and sent to the two nations to the brink of war. Lawmakers have grown increasingly angry over Mr. Trump’s shifting justifications for a Jan. 3 strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important general, and sent the two nations to the brink of war.
What most angered them was a classified, closed-door briefing last week from the president’s national security team. White House officials at the briefing, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, cautioned lawmakers not to question the president’s judgment on Iran, according to people who were there.What most angered them was a classified, closed-door briefing last week from the president’s national security team. White House officials at the briefing, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, cautioned lawmakers not to question the president’s judgment on Iran, according to people who were there.
Mr. Lee and Mr. Paul cited the administration’s “demeaning” briefing when they pledged to support Mr. Kaine’s bill.Mr. Lee and Mr. Paul cited the administration’s “demeaning” briefing when they pledged to support Mr. Kaine’s bill.
A torrent of shifting statements from administration officials in the past week on the reasons for General Suleimani’s killing had also privately rankled Republican lawmakers. On Monday, the narrative collapsed entirely when Mr. Trump tweeted that the focus on whether General Suleimani was planning an imminent attack on American interests, as the administration had initially claimed, was irrelevant. “It doesn’t really matter,” he wrote, “because of his horrible past.”A torrent of shifting statements from administration officials in the past week on the reasons for General Suleimani’s killing had also privately rankled Republican lawmakers. On Monday, the narrative collapsed entirely when Mr. Trump tweeted that the focus on whether General Suleimani was planning an imminent attack on American interests, as the administration had initially claimed, was irrelevant. “It doesn’t really matter,” he wrote, “because of his horrible past.”
“In conversations with Republican colleagues, especially after the briefing last week, they were discouraged that the attitude that was being communicated to us was that Congress was an annoyance,” Mr. Kaine said. “After that, they came to me and we have been able to make some amendments.”“In conversations with Republican colleagues, especially after the briefing last week, they were discouraged that the attitude that was being communicated to us was that Congress was an annoyance,” Mr. Kaine said. “After that, they came to me and we have been able to make some amendments.”
The resolution, which would give Mr. Trump a 30-day deadline to come to Congress for authorization for military action in Iran, would still need to be passed by the House. And it would be unlikely to overcome a veto from Mr. Trump.The resolution, which would give Mr. Trump a 30-day deadline to come to Congress for authorization for military action in Iran, would still need to be passed by the House. And it would be unlikely to overcome a veto from Mr. Trump.
Mr. Kaine introduced the measure, which invokes the War Powers Act of 1973, as a privileged joint resolution, which allows him to force a vote on the measure and win over the support of a simple majority of senators. With 45 Democrats in the Senate and two independents who routinely vote with them, Mr. Kaine needed just four Republicans to sign on.Mr. Kaine introduced the measure, which invokes the War Powers Act of 1973, as a privileged joint resolution, which allows him to force a vote on the measure and win over the support of a simple majority of senators. With 45 Democrats in the Senate and two independents who routinely vote with them, Mr. Kaine needed just four Republicans to sign on.
The vote could come as early as next week, though it is unclear if the timing will be affected by the impeachment trial, which Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, announced would begin next Tuesday. Democratic leaders will also need to corral senators running for president back to the Capitol to ensure passage.The vote could come as early as next week, though it is unclear if the timing will be affected by the impeachment trial, which Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, announced would begin next Tuesday. Democratic leaders will also need to corral senators running for president back to the Capitol to ensure passage.
The House passed similar legislation last week, though that measure was viewed as largely symbolic without the force of law.The House passed similar legislation last week, though that measure was viewed as largely symbolic without the force of law.
But even Mr. Kaine’s legislation, considered to be the stronger of the two measures, has its limitations. The War Powers Resolution only restricts actions by the United States military, so it would not stop Mr. Trump from carrying out targeted attacks on Iranian military leaders or other discrete operations, as long as he carried them out covertly under the authority of the C.I.A.But even Mr. Kaine’s legislation, considered to be the stronger of the two measures, has its limitations. The War Powers Resolution only restricts actions by the United States military, so it would not stop Mr. Trump from carrying out targeted attacks on Iranian military leaders or other discrete operations, as long as he carried them out covertly under the authority of the C.I.A.
Congress has rarely passed legislation invoking the War Powers Act in an attempt to restrain a president’s war-making authority. Last year, it sent to Mr. Trump just such a measure in a bid to cut off American military support of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, an intervention that has created the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster. While Mr. Trump vetoed that legislation, supporters of the legislation hoped it would create a new model for curtailing presidential war powers.Congress has rarely passed legislation invoking the War Powers Act in an attempt to restrain a president’s war-making authority. Last year, it sent to Mr. Trump just such a measure in a bid to cut off American military support of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, an intervention that has created the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster. While Mr. Trump vetoed that legislation, supporters of the legislation hoped it would create a new model for curtailing presidential war powers.
In a sign that Democrats intend to make good on their vow to impose another check on Mr. Trump and his mercurial style of foreign policymaking, House Democratic leaders announced on Tuesday afternoon that the House will vote later in the month on two other measures that would further seek to shackle Mr. Trump’s war-making authority. One would repeal the 2002 authorization of military force in Iraq, and another would prohibit federal funds from being used to take military action in Iran unless explicitly approved by Congress.In a sign that Democrats intend to make good on their vow to impose another check on Mr. Trump and his mercurial style of foreign policymaking, House Democratic leaders announced on Tuesday afternoon that the House will vote later in the month on two other measures that would further seek to shackle Mr. Trump’s war-making authority. One would repeal the 2002 authorization of military force in Iraq, and another would prohibit federal funds from being used to take military action in Iran unless explicitly approved by Congress.
“President Trump does not have a unilateral authority to take our country into war against Iran and must work with Congress to meet this challenge,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat said, in announcing the votes. “President Trump does not have a unilateral authority to take our country into war against Iran and must work with Congress to meet this challenge,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said, in announcing the votes.
Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.