Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran

Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran
© Stefani Reynolds

A Democratic senator is vowing to push a measure aimed at restricting military action against Iran when the Senate’s defense policy bill comes to a floor vote.

“I frankly think it would be a colossal disaster if the United States were involved in Iran,” Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineA lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair Warren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup MORE (D-Va.) told reporters on a conference call. “I especially believe it would be a disaster if we were to do that with the president’s unilateral say-so with no debate in Congress.”

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Kaine’s proposed amendment would prevent funding for any military action against Iran except in self-defense or if Congress approves a separate war authorization.

Kaine’s effort follows a failed attempt Wednesday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Democratic Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallDemocrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections Republicans should get behind the 28th Amendment New Mexico says EPA abandoned state in fight against toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (N.M) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces White House eyes September action plan for gun proposals Trump phoned Democratic senator to talk gun control MORE (Conn.) to get an amendment attached to a Syria policy bill that would have prohibited funding for an unauthorized attack on Iran.

Kaine first attempted to get his amendment added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) during the Senate Armed Services Committee’s closed-door consideration of the bill, he told reporters Thursday.

But he ran into jurisdictional issues because the parliamentarian ruled it was the purview of both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations panels. The Republican chairmen in both committees therefore said it couldn’t be taken up in the Armed Services markup, Kaine said.

Kaine then asked for a vote to overrule the chairman and was voted down along party lines, 14-13, he said.

“That we would not be able to discuss all of these issues about potential war with Iran in the Armed Services Committee, it’s like the scene in Dr. Strangelove where the president says no fighting in the war room. Are you kidding, this is exactly the place we should be having this discussion,” Kaine said.

“But I’m not done with this,” he added. “The jurisdictional objections that can be lodged in a committee do not apply when the bill is on the floor, so when the National Defense [Authorization] Act is on the floor, which could be as early as mid-June, I’m going to revisit the amendment.”

Hundreds of amendments are typically filed for the NDAA, but few have gotten votes in recent years because any one senator can object to bringing an amendment up for a vote.

The Democratic attempts to curtail the president’s ability to take military action against Iran come as U.S.-Iranian tensions continue to run exceptionally hot. 

Despite acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanWhy Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary Five questions for Trump's new defense secretary on first major tour Trump says media is part of vetting his nominees: 'We save a lot of money that way' MORE’s assertion early this week that sending a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East deterred potential Iranian attacks, Shanahan is set to brief the White House later Thursday on proposals to send thousands more troops to the region to protect against alleged threats against U.S. personnel.