The US Senate has passed a resolution limiting President Donald Trump’s war powers in the case of Iran. The measure would only allow the president authority to strike in the case of self-defense or an imminent attack.
Eight Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the measure, which was passed 55-45. The resolution fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto, meaning this resolution is more symbolic than anything.
The president made his feelings on the War Powers Resolution clear on Wednesday when he tweeted that Iran would “have a field day” if his hands “were tied” due to the resolution.
….If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party. Don’t let it happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
Democrat Senator Tim Kaine, a cosponsor on the bill, argued the resolution is not meant to tie the president’s hands, but to force him to “make a case to Congress” and “in front of the American people” before he can take a major military action against another country.
Republican Senator Jim Risch, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, argued the resolution sends a message of “weakness” to other countries when the United States should be sending a “message of firmness.”
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Though Republicans in the Senate rarely vote against the president’s wishes, senators like Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Susan Collins supported the resolution – after it was revised to remove specific mention of Trump by name – which has led to division in the party. After Republican Senator Lindsey Graham dismissed the measure as “a game,” Paul bit back in an interview with CNN by calling the comment a “low gutter response” from a man who “insults the Constitution.”
Concern over the president’s war powers follows Trump ordering a drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on January 3. The move increased tensions with Tehran and led to Iran retaliating by launching missiles at two military bases, leaving over 100 US service members with brain injuries.
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