WASHINGTON | The Senate approved a bipartisan measure Thursday aimed at limiting President Donald Trump’s authority to launch military operations against Iran, with eight Republicans joining Democrats in a bid to constrain the White House.
Trump is expected to veto the war powers resolution if it reaches his desk, warning that if his “hands were tied, Iran would have a field day.’”
The measure, authored by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., says Trump must win approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran. Kaine and other supporters said the resolution, which passed 55-45, was not about Trump or even the presidency, but instead was an important reassertion of congressional power to declare war.
While Trump and other presidents “must always have the ability to defend the United States from imminent attack, the executive power to initiate war stops there,’’ Kaine said. “An offensive war requires a congressional debate and vote.’’
The bipartisan vote was a rare exertion of authority from Congress, the first since passage of the War Powers Act of 1973. And Trump promptly vetoed it.
The Democratic-controlled House passed a separate, nonbinding war powers resolution on Iran last month. The House could take up the Senate resolution later this month, House leaders said. Two-thirds votes in the House and GOP-run Senate would be needed to override an expected Trump veto of the war powers resolution.