House war powers sponsor expects to take up Senate version of resolution

House war powers sponsor expects to take up Senate version of resolution
© Stefani Reynolds

The Democrat sponsoring the House version of a resolution aimed at restricting President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE's ability to go to war with Iran said Wednesday she expects the lower chamber to take up the Senate version after it passes.

“I do,” Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinWill Congress finally address toxic 'forever chemicals?' Overnight Defense: Trump's move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd's death 'a national tragedy' Democrats blast Trump's use of military against protests MORE (D-Mich.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Wednesday when asked if she expects the House to take up the Senate measure sponsored by Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police Senators aim to limit Trump's ability to remove troops from Germany Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats MORE (D-Va.).

“To be determined on timing, but because it’s privileged, it should move relatively fast even with what’s going on in the Senate,” she added, alluding to the start of the Senate’s impeachment trial of Trump.

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The House passed Slotkin’s war powers resolution last week in a largely party-line vote.

On Tuesday, Kaine secured four Republican votes on his Iran war powers resolution, giving it enough votes to pass the upper chamber with a simple majority.

The main difference between the two measures is the type of resolution.

Slotkin’s is a concurrent resolution. That means Trump does not have to sign it, but it also calls into question whether it would be legally binding.

Kaine’s is a joint resolution, meaning it would unquestionably be law. But Trump would have to sign it, setting up a veto showdown with Congress.

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Kaine secured enough Republican votes for his measure after changing the language to hew closer to Slotkin’s. Specifically, the Virginia Democrat took out explicit reference to Trump.

“We were really happy in particular — frankly, it stripped out a lot of the language that was aimed specifically at the president,” Slotkin said of Kaine’s changes.

Kaine also changed the wording to say the administration must “terminate the use of United States Armed Forces for hostilities” against Iran, rather than "remove," amid concerns that would signal a pullback of U.S. troops from the region.

The timing of the Senate’s vote remains in flux as the upper chamber prepares to start Trump’s impeachment trial.

The earliest Kaine can force a vote on his resolution is Tuesday, the same day the impeachment trial is expected to start in earnest. Senators have said they are working out the timing of the war powers vote.

In addition to another war powers resolution vote, the House has two other upcoming Iran votes. Democratic leadership announced Tuesday that the House would vote at the end of January on a bill to block funding for military action against Iran and a bill to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force that the Trump administration has used as legal justification for the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The flurry of legislative activity on Iran comes amid continued questions over the intelligence that led to the Soleimani strike. The administration has offered shifting explanations, from citing his past attacks to claiming without evidence that he was plotting “imminent” attacks.