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Senate invokes War Powers Act in vote to restrain Trump's military actions in Iran

Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

"We are playing with fire," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.

Trump also urged the Senate not to pass the resolution.

"If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party. Don't let it happen!" he tweeted.

Kaine rejected the idea that it sends a negative signal, saying after committing American troops for nearly two decades in Afghanistan and Iraq to fight terrorism, "no one can question whether the United States will protect ourselves and our allies. But the choice of when to fight wars, and when to use other available tools, is always a question of such importance that the most careful deliberation is warranted. ... That's not too much to ask, for us to deliberate carefully."

The Senate resolution differs from one passed by the House with bipartisan support in the wake of the drone strike. The two cannot be reconciled, so the House would now need to pass the Senate resolution for it to be sent to the president's desk. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday that he expects to bring the resolution up for a House vote.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., initially pursued a type of nonbinding House resolution in early January that did not require the president's signature and would have been largely symbolic. The Senate version would be binding, but is subject to presidential veto.

 

The War Powers Act of 1973 allowed Kaine to force a vote on his measure over the objections of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who urged colleagues to oppose it in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. He called the resolution the "bluntest tool available to make a political statement against the president."

Kaine's resolution leaves in place the two broadly written authorizations for military force passed after Sept. 11 to fight al-Qaida and Iraq. Those authorizations have been used -- critics say misused -- by multiple presidents to justify numerous military actions far outside Afghanistan and Iraq, without consulting Congress.

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