2020 debates complicate Senate plans for vote on Trump's war authority

Senators are jostling over when to vote on an amendment to a mammoth defense bill that would restrict President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE's ability to take military action against Iran without congressional authorization.

Republicans say they have agreed to hold a vote on the amendment from Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineAcosta defends Epstein deal, bucking calls for resignation Republican lawmakers on why they haven't read Mueller report: 'Tedious' and 'what's the point?' Schumer calls on Acosta to step down over Epstein MORE (D-Va.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-N.M.), but accused Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence MORE (N.Y.) of playing politics by trying to delay the vote until at least Friday — after the first Democratic presidential debates.
 
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"I'd vote on it in, like, the next 15 minutes, but Sen. Schumer said he wanted to wait until Friday and I don't think we're interested in hanging around waiting on the presidential candidates," said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm GOP struggles to find backup plan for avoiding debt default Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (R-Texas), predicting that the Iran amendment will fail.
 
 
"They want to vote but they also want to be present, so they have to make a decision and the easiest out for them is to choose Friday, which bothers me because I had other plans on Friday," Inhofe said.
 
Democrats have demanded a vote on the amendment from Kaine and Udall, which would block Trump from using government funds to carry out military actions without congressional approval.
 
Schumer argued earlier this week that the vote should take place after the presidential debates, arguing that the fight over Iran is important enough that the whole body should be allowed to be here.
 
He added on Wednesday that both sides are still talking.
 
Asked about the accusations from Republicans that he wants a Friday vote, he argued that the vote couldn't take place Wednesday or Thursday because some senators will be absent.
 
"We can't have the vote Wednesday or Thursday because members are at the debate and that won't be a full Senate, so we're trying to work all this out," Schumer told reporters during a brief hallway interview.
 
The Senate is expected to hold a vote Wednesday afternoon to advance the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the Iran proposal is being offered as an amendment to.
 
Schumer didn't tell reporters if Democrats would support moving forward on the NDAA without an amendment vote time locked in. The caucus has mulled blocking progress on the NDAA without a deal on holding an Iran vote.
 
Kaine, who voted for the NDAA in committee and is sponsoring the Iran amendment, told The Hill that he would not support ending debate on the defense bill unless they could get a vote on his amendment.

“I’m not going to vote to end debate if we don’t get to have a debate on the central issue we should be talking about right now,” Kaine said.