US Senate debates restricting Trump's Iran war powers

The Senate advanced legislation Wednesday that is meant to curb President Donald Trump's war powers against Iran, which will pave the way for a final vote, with several Republicans joining Democrats.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who co-sponsored the war powers resolution, told the Senate, "The resolution before the body today is about Congress reclaiming its rightful role in decisions about war".

While Kaine's resolution in theory should be able to easily pass the House and then go to the president's desk, Trump is expected to veto it. Democrats lack the two-thirds votes necessary in both the House and Senate to overturn such a veto.

"While the President does and must always have the ability to defend the United States from imminent attack, the executive power to initiate war stops there".

Other Democratic senators touted the measure on social media, including Sen.

Republican opponents, including Trump, said passage would send the wrong message to Teheran.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah agreed.

The US Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war.

"What the American people and the entire world will see from the debate we're about to have in the Senate is that there is abundant support for the United States taking tough positions with regard to Iran", Lee said Wednesday. "And as part of that we want to make sure that any military action that needs to be authorized is in fact properly authorized by Congress". That doesn't show weakness.

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"The last thing this country should do is rush into or blunder into another war in the Middle East", Kaine said.

The principle of congressional approval is established for an important reason, Kaine said. In 2006, Democrats won control of both the House and the Senate after Americans became exhausted of the war in Iraq - but they not only failed to end the war, then-President George W. Bush doubled down with a "surge" of troops to that country, deepening and lengthening US involvement in combat there. However, it will require a 67-vote supermajority to override Trump's veto. We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness ...

In his tweet, Trump once again defended his decision, saying: "Americans overwhelmingly support our attack on terrorist Soleimani". If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day.

Passing the resolution, Trump said, would send "a very bad signal. Don't let it happen!". Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force. It does not prevent the US from defending itself from an imminent attack.

Fears that the country was on the brink of war with Iran added new fuel to an ongoing effort by members of both parties to take back the power to declare war from the White House.

"Over the past decade, regrettably Congress has too often abdicated its constitutional responsibility on authorizing the sustained use of military force".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen.

The House has already voted on a similar resolution, passing it with bipartisan votes in the wake of the administration's targeted killing last month in Iraq with a US drone of Tehran's top military commander, Qassem Soleimani.

The Senate is now holding debates on the resolution after a majority voted 51-45 to advance the measure.

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