The U.S. Senate passed a resolution Thursday aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from attacking Iran without the approval of Congress.
In a 55 to 45 vote, Senators passed a War Powers Resolution introduced by Democrat Tim Kaine that requires Trump to seek explicit authorization from Congress before ordering any further military action against Iran.
Senate Democrats approved the measure unanimously and were joined by eight Republicans
A similar resolution passed in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in January but the measure faces a near-certain veto from Trump.
Thursday’s vote marks just the second time in history that Congress has ever evoked the 1973 War Powers Act in an effort to stop a president from taking the country to war without its approval.
In April, Trump vetoed a resolution that called for him to immediately end the U.S. military’s participation in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. An effort to override the veto – which requires a two-thirds majority – failed in the Senate.
Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the sole power to declare war. But in recent decades, the legislative branch has largely abdicated that responsibility, allowing presidents to initiate military actions and make decisions over war and peace.
This is a strong bipartisan message from the Senate that we will uphold our constitutional duty to deliberate and vote before sending our troops into harm’s way. https://t.co/oah5xRqNp4
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) February 13, 2020
Thursday’s vote, however, is the latest in a series of recent moves aimed at reasserting Congressional war powers.
The Trump administration has insisted that it does not need permission from Congress to carry out any future military action against Iran, citing prior authorizations that were passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
But both Democratic and Republican representatives have disputed the administration’s legal interpretations of those authorizations. The resolutions passed by both chambers are intended to leave no room for argument, clarifying that “Congress has not authorized the President to use military force against Iran.”
The vote on Kaine’s resolution comes about a month after Trump brought the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran following his decision to authorize the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in January.
In response, Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. soldiers. No American or Iraqi forces were killed, but more than 100 U.S. soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the strikes.
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