Senate Dems Say They Have Enough Votes for Iran War Powers Challenge

10 Republicans reportedly considering supporting resolution

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a War Powers Act continuing resolution aimed at clarifying that the president is not allowed to attack Iran without Congressional authorization, and that he doesn’t have that. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is offering the Senate version of the resolution, and Democrats say they have enough votes now to pass it as well.

The House vote went heavily along party lines, and there were doubts in the Republican-held Senate if they’d have the votes. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Todd Young (IN), Mike Lee (UT) and Rand Paul (KY) have all backed the resolution now.

And that’s just worst-case scenario for the vote, as some are saying that as many as 10 Republican Senators are considering supporting the resolution, reflecting growing dissatisfaction with the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and with President Trump’s continued refusal to give Congress the intelligence underpinning this attack.

Though there has not been an official schedule for the vote as of yet, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says it will happen later in the week. In the past, some Congressional leaders have tried to avoid War Powers Act votes to avoid embarrassing the president.

There doesn’t seem to be a bid to block this vote so far, and rather some Republican leaders are trying to convince the Democrats to water down the Kaine bill, making it easier to pass but also less relevant.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued that “thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to celebrate Soleimani’s death,”  which is plainly false. He added this showed killing him was justified.

The Trump Administration has consistently argued that Congress has no say over who he can and cannot kill, and it is likely this will serve as a major test of Congress’s constitutional authority.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.