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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 TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE's ability to take military action against Iran without congressional signoff. 
 
 
“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 CollinsTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right MORE (Maine), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses MORE (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 (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 McConnellImmigration, executive action top Biden preview of first 100 days Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Barrett on the night of Ginsburg's death: report 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 ThuneDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump keeps tight grip on GOP amid divisions 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."