The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump’s Iran war powers
Eight Senate Republicans voted Thursday for a resolution that would curb President Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran without congressional approval.
The Senate passed the resolution in a 55-45 vote, sending it to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said the measure will come up for a vote after lawmakers return from next week’s recess.
The resolution requires Trump to remove U.S. troops against hostilities against Iran unless Congress authorizes military action. Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated earlier this year in the wake of airstrikes that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The measure garnered support from every Democrat, including the chamber’s three 2020 contenders who returned from the trail for the vote. It also won over twice as many Republicans—included libertarian-minded senators to moderates—comparedd a failed effort in June to block Trump from using funding to carry out military action against Iran.
Here are the eight GOP senators who voted to rein in Trump’s war authority:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.): Alexander, a Senate institutionalist who is retiring, opposed the June proposal to block Trump from using funding, but has also broken with Trump on significant votes including supporting nixing the border wall emergency declaration. He said after the vote that it was “about the United States Constitution.”
“It preserves the commander in chief’s Article II constitutional responsibility to defend the country and Congress’ Article I responsibility to declare war,” he added.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.): Cassidy was one of eight Republicans who voted to take up the resolution earlier this week. He declined to say earlier Thursday if he would support it on final passage, saying that he wanted to see how it would be amended but noted his support on the procedural vote.
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine): Collins, who is up for reelection, was one of four Republicans who also voted to block Trump from using funding to take military action against Iran.
She positioned her support as about reclaiming Congress’s constitutional authorities, telling reporters that it’s “important to reassert the legislative branch’s role regardless of which party occupies the Whie House.”
Sen. Mike Lee (Utah): Lee, a libertarian-leaning Republican, has been at the center of the chamber’s debates over Congress’s war authority. He announced after a closed-door briefing with the administration that he would support Kaine’s resolution, calling the meeting “the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a military issue.”
Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.): Moran was viewed as a potential swing vote on the war powers resolution. He voted against the June amendment to block funding for military action against Iran, but has also supported previous war powers resolutions targeting the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.
He said in a statement after the vote that any military action against Iran “ought to be considered by the full Congress on behalf of the people it represents.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): Murkowski had indicated last month that she was a likely no vote, telling an Alaska radio station that she was “hesitant to sign on to it for a host of different reasons.”
But Murkowski hinted that she could be changing her mind, telling reporters last week during the impeachment trial that Congress needed to “wake up” and become more assertive and noted that there was a war powers debate coming up.
She said as recently as Tuesday that she had not made a decision on Kaine’s resolution, which underwent revisions since its introduction.
Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.): Paul is viewed as an outlier within the Senate GOP caucus when it comes to foreign policy and, like Lee, routinely teams up with Democrats on war powers resolutions. He announced with Lee after the closed-door briefing last month on the Soleimani strike that he would support Kaine’s resolution, noting he had been waiting to see the administration’s intelligence before finalizing his decision.
Sen. Todd Young (Ind.): Young signed onto the resolution after Kaine made changes to the proposal, including removing references to Trump in the “findings” section. He said on Thursday that he supports the Soleimani strike but that Congress has been “AWOL” on national security in recent decades.