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As many as eight GOP senators expected to vote to curb Trump's power to attack Iran


The Senate is set to pass on Thursday a bipartisan resolution to limit President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden assures supporters the primary is still ‘wide open’ in lengthy phone call: report Warren: We are watching a descent into authoritarianism Collins: Trump ‘angered by impeachment’ MORE’s ability to take military action against Iran, handing the president a rebuke on foreign policy a week after voting to acquit him in his impeachment trial. 

As many as eight Republicans are expected to vote for the resolution, which directs the president to terminate the use of the U.S. armed forces in hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran.   

They are Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium Trump urges Senate to reject effort to reel in his Iran war powers MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulBarr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm Overnight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces Trump urges Senate to reject effort to reel in his Iran war powers MORE (Ky.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins: Trump ‘angered by impeachment’ Barr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm Overnight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces MORE (Maine), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungOvernight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces Trump urges Senate to reject effort to reel in his Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Trump says military may consider disciplining Vindman | Dems pick up another Republican for Iran war measure | Watchdog says over 2,000 people killed rebuilding Afghanistan MORE (Ind.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOvernight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces Trump urges Senate to reject effort to reel in his Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Trump says military may consider disciplining Vindman | Dems pick up another Republican for Iran war measure | Watchdog says over 2,000 people killed rebuilding Afghanistan MORE (Kan.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces How Lamar Alexander clouds the true meaning of the Constitution Impeachment fallout threatens to upend battle for Senate MORE (Tenn.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces Plan to probe Bidens sparks GOP divisions Trump urges Congress to pass bill allowing new parents to advance tax credits MORE (La.), and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBarr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm Overnight Defense: Trump urges Senate to reject Iran war powers resolution | Top Republican says military shouldn’t discipline Vindman | Esper makes change to Africa forces Trump denies political interference in Stone case MORE (Alaska).

All eight voted Wednesday afternoon along with 43 Democrats to bring the measure to the floor. Four Democrats running for president — Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden assures supporters the primary is still ‘wide open’ in lengthy phone call: report Former HUD secretary criticizes Bloomberg on housing policy Warren: We are watching a descent into authoritarianism MORE (D-Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden assures supporters the primary is still ‘wide open’ in lengthy phone call: report Limbaugh on Buttigieg: ‘America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage’ CNN announces Democratic town halls in Nevada MORE (D-Miss.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout The Hill’s Morning Report – Sanders repeats with NH primary win, but with narrower victory Winners and losers from the New Hampshire primary MORE (D-Colo.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden assures supporters the primary is still ‘wide open’ in lengthy phone call: report Limbaugh on Buttigieg: ‘America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage’ CNN announces Democratic town halls in Nevada MORE (I-Vt.) — missed the procedural vote. They are expected to be back on Thursday for the final up and down vote. 

Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineTrump urges Senate to reject effort to reel in his Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Trump says military may consider disciplining Vindman | Dems pick up another Republican for Iran war measure | Watchdog says over 2,000 people killed rebuilding Afghanistan Dems pick up new GOP support to rein in Trump’s Iran war powers MORE (D-Va.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinBarr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm Graham won’t call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation GOP duo moves ahead with Biden investigation MORE (D-Ill.) introduced the resolution after a Trump in January ordered a military drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force.

The attack prompted a retaliatory Iranian missile strike against two bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops, more than 100 of whom were left with brain injuries.

The unexpected move to take out Soleimani, a revered figure in Iran, was seen by many experts as a provocation that could lead to a wider regional conflict. It put Congress in a state of high alert until Trump tweeted that he did not expect any further escalation.

Republican senators who support the resolution have taken pains to remove references to Trump, in order to avoid the appearance of taking a shot at the president.

But their defiance shows that foreign policy has become a major source of friction between the president and some members of his party.

Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDems pick up new GOP support to rein in Trump’s Iran war powers McConnell urges opposition to effort to constrain Trump’s Iran war powers The Hill’s Morning Report – Sanders, Buttigieg do battle in New Hampshire MORE (R-S.D.) said, “You’ve got members of ours who traditionally have held the view that you don’t want to be involved in foreign entanglements.” 

“And then we got other members … who think that constitutionally Congress needs to claw back some more of the powers we’ve given up to the executive when it comes to where and when we deploy American power around the world,” he said.

“It’s evidence that there are folks in our caucus who on foreign policy and national security matters come down in a slightly different place,” he added.

The wave of GOP defections is all the more remarkable after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Overnight Defense: Trump says military may consider disciplining Vindman | Dems pick up another Republican for Iran war measure | Watchdog says over 2,000 people killed rebuilding Afghanistan Republicans scramble to avoid Medicare land mine MORE (R-Ky.) came out strongly in opposition to the measure.

The GOP leader on Tuesday called the resolution “deeply flawed on a number of levels.” 

He called it an overly aggressive interpretation of the 1974 War Powers Act that would go too far in tying the president’s hands in responding to national security threats.

“It is too blunt and too broad. It is also an abuse of the War Powers Act, which was designed to strike a balance between the President’s constitutional war powers and Congress’ own war powers and oversight responsibilities,” McConnell said on the floor.

McConnell drew a parallel between the Democratic effort to impeach Trump and remove him from office to this week’s attempt to limit his war powers.

“No patience for ordinary oversight; just rush to grab the bluntest tool available to make a political statement against the president,” he said.

“Well, this war powers debate bears an eerie resemblance to that pattern,” he added, referring to the recently concluded impeachment effort.

While Republican lawmakers have been reluctant to criticize Trump’s conduct — as evidenced by 52 GOP senators voting to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment — they have been more willing to fight over the balance of power between the White House and Congress.

Young, a Republican co-sponsor of the resolution, said, “I think it’s important that Congress consistently affirm our support for our troops. There’s no better way to do that than casting our vote to authorize force when necessary.”

The Senate voted in March 2019 to direct the president to stop U.S. military support of a Saudi-backed coalition fighting in the civil war in Yemen.  Seven Republicans broke party ranks to support the resolution: Lee, Collins, Moran, Murkowski, Paul, Young, and Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate set for closing arguments on impeachment Schiff sparks blowback with head on a ‘pike’ line Lawmakers introduce bill to reform controversial surveillance authorities MORE (R-Mont.).

Daines, who is up for re-election this year in a solidly pro-Trump state, is the only Republican who has dropped off the block of GOP senators who want to rein in the president’s war-making powers.   

Although Trump vetoed last year’s resolution, proponents of the measure argued it had an effect because the administration stopped refueling Saudi warplanes after Congress acted. 

Thursday’s rebuke of Trump’s war powers vis a vis Iran will, too, be viewed as largely symbolic.

Trump is expected to veto the measure and GOP leaders say there aren’t 67 votes in the upper chamber to override him. A similar bill passed earlier this year by the House is a concurrent resolution and will not go to Trump’s desk.

“They’re not going to be at the requisite number to actually succeed in the end,” said Thune.

Paul, a staunch Trump ally, says he is motivated to restore Congress’s constitutional powers. 

He argues that the White House merely feels obliged to consult with Congress ahead of a major military action and doesn’t feel any real constraint from launching strikes.

“It’s not supposed to be about advice, it’s supposed to be about permission. The Constitution says we go to war with the permission of Congress,” Paul said.

Paul believes it’s important to retrench the president’s war powers after an authorization of military force passed by Congress shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks has been used to justify hostilities around the world for nearly 20 years.

The 2001 authorization states the “president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred.”

“When we went to war in 2001, it was very clear cut. It was sixty words. It says nothing about association forces. It says nothing about 50 different wars in Africa or throughout the Middle East,” Paul said. 



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