Kaine revises Trump Iran war resolution as he courts GOP support
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he is making changes to his resolution that would limit President Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran as he tries to pick up more Republican support.
Kaine has been talking with GOP senators, including a half-hour meeting with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), in an effort to secure the 51 votes needed for the resolution to initially pass the Senate.
“Republicans are giving us some good suggestions … so we’re in the process of trying to develop a managers package that would get more people on board,” Kaine said Thursday.
Kaine’s resolution would force Trump to remove troops from hostilities against Iran within 30 days unless the activity is meant to respond to an “imminent” threat. Democrats will be able to bring Kaine’s resolution to the floor as soon as Tuesday morning, where he’ll need 51 votes to get it through the chamber.
So far two Republicans — Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — have said they will support the measure. Lee noted that Kaine had agreed to make changes that helped win over his support.
Kaine, in his war powers resolution, said he is removing two paragraphs in the “findings” section of his measure that directly mention Trump.
“I don’t criticize the president … but I’ve had from these two Republicans but also a Democrat or two say ‘hey this is really about any president. This is not about President Trump.’ I said ‘good point.’ They ask that we drop it, those two paragraphs, so I’m going to drop those two paragraphs,” Kaine said.
He added that he’s also making “really technical changes” to help clarify the intent of the resolution.
In addition to Paul and Lee, Collins and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) voted for a similar amendment that Kaine and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) offered to the National Defense Authorization Act. The proposal fell short at the time because it needed 60 votes to be added to the mammoth defense policy bill.
Collins said on Thursday that she had a meeting with Kaine on Wednesday to discuss the resolution.
“The language is not yet final, and we discussed some of the issues. Until Sen. Kaine decides on his final language, I cannot determine whether or not I will support it,” she said.
Moran has also said he is undecided on Kaine’s resolution.
Kaine said he is also talking to a broader group of Republican colleagues, including lawmakers on the Foreign Relations Committee and those who supported ending U.S. backing for Saudi Arabia’s military activities in Yemen.
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters on Wednesday that he was discussing the resolution with Kaine.
Asked on Thursday if he thought the changes he was making were enough to win over Young and Collins, which would give him 51 votes, Kaine demurred.
“I think they view them positively. Whether they’re enough you know we’re still in dialogue,” Kaine said. “But they’ve given us some changes, some of which we’ve made.”
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