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McConnell urges opposition to effort to constrain Trump's Iran war powers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE (R-Ky.) is urging senators to reject efforts to rein in President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE's ability to take military action against Iran without congressional approval.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on a resolution from Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Senate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint MORE (D-Va.) that would require Trump to end any military hostilities against Tehran within 30 days. 

"I will strongly oppose our colleague's effort and urge the Senate to defeat it," McConnell said from the Senate floor. 

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McConnell argued that the Kaine resolution is "blunt and clumsy" and would "severely limit the U.S. military's operational flexibility to defend itself against threats posed by Iran."

"The ill-conceived potshots at presidential authorities in the wake of a strike that succeeded using the blunt instrument of a war powers resolution is no substitute at all for answering these broader questions" on foreign policy strategy, McConnell said. 

The Senate is expected to start debate on the war powers resolution on Wednesday.  

Kaine has the four GOP votes necessary for the resolution to pass initially, with Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him GOP blocks effort to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (R-Maine), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge MORE (R-Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Senate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return MORE (R-Ky.) and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungShelton's Fed nomination on knife's edge amid coronavirus-fueled absences Grassley quarantining after exposure to coronavirus Rick Scott to quarantine after contact with person who tested positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Ind.) expected to support it.  

But both Kaine and Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump doubles down on Section 230 repeal after GOP pushback Congress faces late-year logjam Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (R-S.D.), the chief Senate Republican vote counter, suggested Democrats could pick up additional GOP votes, depending on the final language of the resolution. 

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"I think there's a universe of Republicans depending on how it's drafted that might be inclined to be for some version of that," Thune said. "It's not a big universe of members, but it's probably more than the traditional four." 

Because Democrats are using the War Powers Act, they are able to force a vote on the resolution limiting Trump despite opposition from McConnell and most Republicans. 

The House passed a concurrent resolution earlier this year, but that measure does not go to Trump's desk and traditionally is not legally binding.  

The Senate resolution, which still needs to pass the House, is all but guaranteed to spark a veto from Trump. A veto override attempt would fall short because Democrats would need to pick up 20 GOP votes.