On Thursday, 55 senators, including eight Republicans, voted for a resolution that would force President Trump to obtain permission from Congress before ordering military action against Iran.
The eight Republicans were Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), Todd C. Young (R-IN), Lamar Alexander (R-TN.) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
The Washington Post noted, “Trump will almost certainly veto the measure once it passes the House, and neither chamber of Congress has the votes to override that veto, lawmakers say.” That is because the 55 votes fall short of a supermajority needed to override a presidential veto.
On Wednesday President Trump tweeted his disapproval of the resolution, tweeting, “We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness. If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal.”
Senator Lindsey Graham warned that Trump would veto the bill, saying, “If this passes, the president will never abide by it — no president would. I want the Iranians to understand, when it comes to their provocative behavior, all options are on the table,” as The New York Times reported.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell added that the resolution was “deeply flawed,” adding, “It is too blunt and too broad,” as Fox News reported. On Tuesday McConnell warned the resolution “would severely limit the U.S. military’s operations flexibility to defend itself against threats posed by Iran.”
Bloomberg News added that McConnell posited that after the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, “Washington Democrats immediately suggested President Trump was leading us into World War III.” He added that the resolution was a “blunt and clumsy” measure and queried whether it was smart to “let a power like Iran push us around” while China and Russia observed.
The New York Times pointed out, “Last year, Congress cleared a bipartisan measure invoking the War Powers Act that would have cut off American military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war, and a separate measure seeking to curtail the president’s war-making powers in Iran ping-ponged between the two chambers, passing the House but not the Senate.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said, “We’ve been talking to our constituents, we’ve been listening to them, and we know what they think about another war in the Middle East right now. (Trump’s] got an election that he’s focused on and he wants to win. . . . He could well veto it and then adjust behavior.”
Cassidy stated, “If this resolution was in effect at the beginning of the year, President Trump would have still been able to carry out strikes against Iran and General Soleimani … The founders gave Congress the power to declare war under Article 1 of the Constitution; we should fulfill this responsibility.”
Last June, Collins, Lee, Paul and Moran joined Democrats to support an amendment requiring Trump to ask Congress before attacking Iran unless there had been an attack from Iran or an imminent attack that warranted a response from the United States.