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GOP Senators Defect, Help Dems Limit Trump from Taking Further Military Action Against Iran


The day after it was reported that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has failed to secure the 51 Republican votes needed to dismiss the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, the White House is braced for another moderate party defection, as several GOP senators have agreed to back a resolution to block further military action in Iran.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Tuesday told reporters that at least four Republicans have agreed to join all 47 Democrats in supporting a revised version of a resolution that would limit Trump’s ability to authorize further military action in Iran without congressional approval.

According to Kaine, the resolution will be backed by Republican Sens. Todd Young of Indiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“The Kaine resolution would continue to allow the President to respond to emergencies created by aggression from any hostile nation, including Iran, and to repel an imminent attack by Iran or its proxy forces,” Collins said in a statement Tuesday. “It simply makes clear that only the Legislative Branch may declare war or commit our armed forces to a sustained military conflict with Iran.”

Sen. Young reiterated the import of ensuring Congress is involved in any future military decisions.

“[I] expect to vote for — if offered the opportunity — the amended Kaine resolution,” Young said.

“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.”

The resolution may be viewed as a slight rebuke of the administration for its slipshod approach to providing Congress with a legal justification for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week. At a minimum, this represents Congress standing up for its own powers. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle publicly expressed frustration with the administration’s vacillating explanations.

The measure, however, would still need to pass in the House and be signed by President Trump before becoming law.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also said he was confident the chamber would pass the resolution.

“We believe (the resolution) will get 51 votes that is needed to pass. And so, we will work out the timing,” Schumer said during a weekly press conference Tuesday.

[image via JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.