Dems pick up new GOP support to rein in Trump's Iran war powers

Dems pick up new GOP support to rein in Trump's Iran war powers
© Greg Nash
Democrats picked up another GOP vote ahead of a showdown on President TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE's ability to take military action against Iran without congressional signoff. 
 
Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranRand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate Sinema criticizes Paul for alleged behavior ahead of coronavirus test results: 'Absolutely irresponsible' Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter dismantle Russian interference campaign targeting African Americans | YouTube to allow ads on coronavirus videos | Trump signs law banning federal funds for Huawei equipment MORE (R-Kan.) said on Tuesday that he will support a resolution spearheaded by Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocratic senator rips Navy head's 'completely inappropriate' speech on ousted carrier captain Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package MORE (D-Va.) that will get a vote later this week. 
 
“The Constitution, in Article I, provides Congress the power to declare war – a responsibility I take seriously," Moran said in a statement. "The prospect of military action against Iran has consequences that ought to be considered by the full Congress, on behalf of the people it represents."
 
"In supporting the War Powers Resolution, I respect the President’s obligation to defend against imminent threats while making sure any additional action is properly debated and approved by Congress as required by the Constitution," he added. 
 
Moran is the fifth GOP senator to say they will vote for the resolution, which needs only a simple majority to pass. GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins: Firing of intelligence community watchdog 'not warranted' Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis GOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus MORE (Maine), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeJustice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Trump on Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'I am so happy I can barely speak' MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGeorgia governor says he didn't know asymptomatic people could spread coronavirus McConnell: Impeachment distracted government from coronavirus threat Warren knocks McConnell for forcing in-person Senate vote amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (Ky.) and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungRand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate GOP lukewarm on talk of airline bailout Trump, GOP scramble to keep economy from derailing MORE (Ind.) are also expected to support it.
 
The resolution would require Trump to remove U.S. troops "engaged in hostilities" against Iran unless Congress signs off with a declaration of war or a specific authorization for use of military force.
 
Democrats said they would force the vote after Trump launched an airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, which sparked a quick escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States. Moran noted in his statement that he believed Trump "was justified in his decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield."   
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFlorida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Schumer says nation will 'definitely' need new coronavirus relief bill MORE (R-Ky.) urged senators to oppose the resolution, calling it "blunt and clumsy" and arguing that it would "severely limit the U.S. military's operational flexibility to defend itself against threats posed by Iran."
 
But Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump's magical thinking won't stop the coronavirus pandemic Lawmakers brace for more coronavirus legislation after trillion bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said there was a "universe" of Republicans who could support the resolution that would be more than four but far less than the 20 that would ultimately be needed to override a veto. 
 
"We've got members who want to see a new [authorization for use of military force] for anything that we do abroad. And then we've got other members who, like I said, think that constitutionally Congress needs to claw back some … of the powers we've given to the executive," Thune said.
 
Because Democrats are forcing the vote under the War Powers Act, they only need a simple majority for it to pass. With every Democrat expected to support it, it is expected to pass the Senate on Thursday. If the resolution reaches Trump's desk, he is all but guaranteed to veto it, and the Senate is not expected to be able to override the veto. 
 
Kaine estimated that in addition to the GOP senators who were already on board with the resolution, roughly an additional five to seven could be viewed as potential "yes" votes on his resolution.
 
 
She initially told KTOO, an Alaskan radio station, last month that she has not made a final decision, but “my inclination right now is, I’m hesitant to sign on to it for a host of different reasons.” 
 
However, she also told reporters last week that Congress needed to do more to exert itself against the executive branch, and noted that the war powers debate was coming up.
 
"I think the path forward is for the legislative branch is to wake up and get its act together … assert your own powers," Murkowski said. "We're going to have a debate coming up on war powers. That's legitimate for us as a Congress to discuss and debate."