Iran

The Senate Has Enough Votes To Stop Further Unapproved Military Action Against Iran

Four Republicans cross the aisle to support a new resolution limited the president's power to wage war. But could they get enough to overrule a veto?

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Four Senate Republicans have announced support for a resolution limiting President Donald Trump's power to engage in military actions against Iran without seeking permission from Congress first, pushing it past the 51-vote threshold needed to pass.

Sens. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) and Mike Lee (R–Utah) had previously declared their support. On Tuesday, Sens. Todd Young (R–Ind.) and Susan Collins (R–Maine) announced that they would support Sen. Tim Kaine's resolution. The resolution would specify that the current Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed in 2002 to fight Al Qaeda does not authorize Trump to strike Iran or Iranian targets. The resolution tells the president to end any sort of hostilities with Iran within 30 days of its passage, unless Congress specifically passes a new AUMF.

The House version of the bill passed last week primarily on party lines (with three Republicans and independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan crossing the aisle), but was a non-binding resolution. Kaine's version of the bill, should it pass (it would have to go back through the House again) would make it binding.

Young explained his support with his own background as a Marine. Via NPR:

"Making sure that our men and women in uniform know that me and Congress have their backs, it's really important to me as someone who served in the U.S. Marine Corps," Young said. He later added, "I think it's essential that Congress, from time to time, reaffirms our Article I responsibilities and affirms our support for our men and women in uniform as we contemplate potentially putting them in harm's way."

Lee, who has been very vocal in his dissatisfaction at how the Trump administration has justified its drone strike assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, has arranged for Kaine's bill to be amended to make it less about Trump and more about Congress's role of oversight over the executive branch's war-making powers.

"I'm trying to take the focus off of the president specifically, and off of Soleimani," Lee said. And that's the right way to approach it. The resolution isn't supposed to be about whether Congress agrees or disagrees with Trump's military decisions. As the commander in chief, it's Trump's job to decide how to apply force. It's the role of Congress to decide whether to authorize Trump to do so, against whom, and under which circumstances. Whether or not Trump should be arranging military actions against Iran shouldn't be based on how members of Congress feel about Trump but on whether military action against Iran is called for and whether it will protect American safety.

But even after Lee arranged to make the bill about oversight of the president's war-making powers rather than being about Trump, it's unlikely to have the White House's support and is probably going to be vetoed. The vote totals right now are not enough to overturn a Trump veto. But Lee says he believes there's a pack of 10 Republicans in the Senate who might support the bill, so we may find out otherwise.

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  1. No they won’t. And that is why they have the support they do. The Congress knows that Trump will veto the Iranian empowerment act and continue to defend US interests. If they thought he would sign it, they would shit their pants at the prospect of the resulting responsibility and this thing would be dead in about 20 seconds.

    As it is, they can pass something and grandstand about it knowing all the while that nothing will change and they will never have to face any actual responsibility for their positions.

    1. Trump vetoing this bill will say a lot about the future of Trump’s foreign policy, which up to this point has been reasonably good. He hasn’t started any new wars. Him vetoing this would be a signal that maybe war with Iran is something that he would push unilaterally. Why else would he veto it?

      And how could any supposed constitutionalist or libertarian support a veto of this bill?

      1. How could any constitutionalist not support the vetoing of this bill. It is an infringement on the President’s article two powers. I don’t know where this bizarre idea that the power to declare war means Congress must approve every us of military force, but it is not what the document means and is not how it has ever been interpreted that way. If you think it should say that, then amend the Constitution instead of torturing it to mean something it was never intended to mean.

        1. Congress generated a vague AUMF and now they want to control how the President wages war within the confines of that AUMF. yet they wont repeal the AUMF.

          It would be like Congress telling FDR that Germany would be the priority over Japan. That decision to put most resources toward Germany was purely a Presidential decision.

        2. I call B.S.

          While the President is the “Commander” of the Army just like he is the “Commander” of ALL executive agencies; he is not the law maker, decider or king. He is the Executive presiding over the implementation of written LAW from Congress.

          A big problem today is that — “is not how it has ever been interpreted”… A second-grader could see through that group-think mentality. Do we also “interpret” that police (being the implementors) can just write up whatever law or do whatever action they want because they’re the so called “Commander in Chief” of law enforcement??

        3. What exactly is the point of the power to declare war if the president can wage a war without this declaration ?

          “The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the DECLARING of war and to the RAISING and REGULATING of fleets and armies, all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature”

          https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed69.asp

          And that’s from Hamilton (including the uppercase words), from all the framers he is probably the one who love strong executive the most.

          “Any thing beyond [repelling force with force] must
          fall under the idea of reprisals & requires the sanction of that Department which is to declare or make
          war.” Hamilton

          “The making reprisal on a nation is a very serious thing. Remonstrance and refusal of satisfaction ought to precede; and when reprisal follows, it is considered as an act of war, and never yet failed to produce it in the case of a nation able to make war; besides, if the case were important enough to require reprisal, and ripe for that step, Congress must be called on to take it; the right of reprisal being expressly lodged with them by the Constitution, and not with the Executive.”
          Thomas Jefferson

          1. What’s any of that have to do with exercising command in a congressionally assigned theater of active hostilities?

            1. Saying that the president already have the authorization of congress to make war in Iraq is one thing, but saying that this action is not an act of war (or worse that act of war did not need a congressional authorization) is another thing entirely.

      2. “Trump vetoing this bill will say a lot about the future of Trump’s foreign policy, which up to this point has been reasonably good. He hasn’t started any new wars. Him vetoing this would be a signal that maybe war with Iran is something that he would push unilaterally. Why else would he veto it?”

        Moronic.

    2. #MullahProtectionAct2020

      1. #DemocratsAreWithTheTerrorists

  2. Does the Senate Has Enough Votes To Stop Further Unapproved Military Action by Iran against itself?

  3. Well, we know exactly what will happen if congress actually takes over and tries to micro-manage the military down to the tactical level.
    If you are curious, type Vietnam War into a search engine.

    1. What is the relevance of that to this? Nobody’s asking for Congress to micromanage the military down to a tactical level. They are merely forcing Trump to adhere to the basic constitutional rules about Congressional approval for military action in general.

      It is ironic that the Democrats were apparently cool with Obama violating the War Powers Act by not getting Congressional approval for our military actions in Libya back when they were in power, and now they suddenly care about following the rules. Obama should have been impeached for that in my opinion, but the Republicans love war too much to uniformly align to impeach a President over small scale actions.

      1. Well, congress authorized a war on terror.
        Soleimani was a terrorist. Now he is a dead terrorist.
        End of story.

      2. Sorry proprietist you dont understand the truth Longtobefree is telling you.

      3. Well Said — The right course of action is to repeal the current Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed in 2002. Here it is 18-years later and congress is still pretending we are at DEFCON-3 even AFTER two sectors of Al Qaeda + ISIS are all but conquered.

        Expiring federal’s extended Marshall-law like power of Emergency Powers is like getting rid of a severe cockroach problem.

    2. Well, we know exactly what will happen if congress actually takes over and tries to micro-manage the military down to the tactical level.

      Keep beating that strawman. No need to “micromanage” the military if you don’t allow them to engage in the first place.

      1. The President can defend the USA without Congressional approval for some period of time that the Constitution is vague on.

      2. Are you saying Pelosi and Schiff aren’t demanding control? Their resolution would require checking combatant nationalities before returning fire to not violate. At that point, yes they are inserting themselves into tactics and operations.

  4. “Whether or not Trump should be arranging military actions against Iran shouldn’t be based on how members of Congress feel about Trump but on whether military action against Iran is called for…”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha!

  5. So no on repealing the AUMF?

    This is a win-win-win for Trump.

    1. Trump gets to use Democrats as an excuse when pulling US troops out of Iraq causes that country to implode and become a puppet of Iran.
    2. Trump gets to campaign that Democrats are against killing the foreign leaders who kill Americans.
    3. Trump gets to be the President to pull troops out of Iraq.

  6. “The resolution isn’t supposed to be about whether Congress agrees or disagrees with Trump’s military decisions.”

    Blatant, transparent bullshit, and you know it.

    1. Exactly.. If they’re not pushing to repeal the current Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed in 2002 then they’re just pursuing their witch-hunt against the President.

      I’d actually like to think more Republicans would cross over if it wasn’t for the astonishing President witch-hunting going on.

  7. I fully supported taking out Soleimani. But I am not totally opposed to a resolution such as this in theory. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 directs that in the absence of a Declaration of War or specific statutory authority, POTUS shall remove US Armed forces from an area of hostilities if Congress tells him to. Having said that, some of the wording of the resolution seems to blame Trump for escalating hostilities with Iran. Which is bullshit. In addition, I am not aware of any other US forces engaged in hostilities with Iran or agents of its government. At least not with Iranians who are acting openly. If they are supporting terrorists groups that we are engaged with, that is THEIR fault, not ours.

    1. It’s fine in principle, but there’s no substance to it. The only reason the Democrats are doing this is out of anti-Trumpism, considering they had no interest in limiting these powers when their guy was in office.

      If the Dems thought this would actually go anywhere other than the trash bin, they would never have pushed it in the first place.

      1. I agree completely. I do think that people like Rand Paul and Mike Lee are acting out of principle, but definitely agree over all.

        1. Yeah, they’re pretty much the only ones.

  8. Come, on let’s posture a bit more, shall we?

    Let’s waste more time trying to make the American people not re-elect Trump.

    THIS time it’ll work!

  9. “The Senate Has Enough Votes To Stop Further Unapproved Military Action Against Iran”

    Of what military action do they speak? Killing bad guys in Iraq that we’re attacking targets in iraq?

  10. They do – but they won’t use them.

    You know why? Because then that would require them to take on responsibility for deciding to use (or not use) violence. And that could come back to bite them (especially the Democrats and their current fellating of the Iranian regime) in the next election.

    1. I mean, that why the War Powers doctrine exists in the first place. Its been the trend of Congress for longer than I’ve been alive – shift power (and therefore responsibility) onto the Executive while retaining the privileges of being in Congress.

      1. Anything goes wrong, you point at the President.

  11. Why not simply repeal the AUMF? It’s funny how the previous two administrations got us into to war, but now the Congress grows a pair? Why not vote on a resolution to remove U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan?

    1. Exactly!

    2. Repealing the AUMF would certainly be ideal. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      1. Killing Soleimani was good for the USA.

      2. So soleimani (well, his replacement now) being allowed to run hostile actions against American forces unchallenged is your idea of good? Don’t kid yourself, that is what this demands- war with Iran or no engagement against Iranian forces/nationals.

  12. hitching your wagon to Tim Kaine seems like a career-killer

  13. It’s a shame it has to be so fucking partisan. Why not just make it the way it’s supposed to be: you have to declare war to go any further than step one, and as POTUS you should expect to be held accountable for step one, so tread lightly…and yes, by this I mean that Trump should be answering the tough questions about now.

    1. Tough questions?

      Iran and the US were exchanging attacks. Iran via it’s terrorist proxies and Quds force, the US openly, with it’s military.

      An opportunity came to take out the leader of the Iranian forces behind this exchange.

      They did so.

      What questions need answering? Why didn’t Trump ask Pelosi and Schiff’s permission first? Why wasn’t Justin Amash allowed veto power? And where was Chuck?

      The man was killed in the midst of hostilities. That’s reason enough.

      All this bullshit about imminence and what he did prior is just stupid. You’re allowed to kill enemy generals who are ordering strikes against you.

    2. “…you have to declare war to go any further than step one,”

      Except that it’s never been that way. Presidents back before Hayes have committed small numbers of troops, usually Marines, without going to Congress for a declaration of war. A declaration wasn’t sought, AFAIK, when making war on the various Plains Indians Tribes, nor was one sought when Marines were sent hither dither throughout banana land. Declarations of war were sought when the foreign crisis was serious enough that using draftees was contemplated.

      If Congress doesn’t want the US military in Iraq, Afghanistan, or fighting Iranian-backed militia or Iranian forces themselves, repeal the AUMF. Both of them. But Congress doesn’t want to do that. They primarily want to bitch about Trump, and then dictate how the President will use troops, after Congress has decided they need to be used.

      1. Perhaps the best example of this is Pershing’s Expedition to find and fight Pancho Villa’s army. A declaration of war wasn’t sought in either 1916 when Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, and later in 1916 when Pershing started chasing him, nor in 1914 when the US Navy seized Veracruz. President Wilson did go to Congress before the seizure, and asked Congress for their approval, which they gave.

  14. Trump will veto. Repubs will not over-ride because they love executive power when it’s their executive. Next.

    1. Gotta love throwing rocks while settling into a glass box house.

      Nothing funner than pointing fingers at the ‘Limited Government’ party (i.e. Republicans) and calling everything they do ‘Unlimited Government’ especially when the finger-pointer is probably of the ‘Unlimited Government’ party (i.e. Democrats).

      Sell your soul to the [WE] foundation; because you don’t own you. [WE] own you….

  15. Foreign policy based solely on the hag loosing the election…What could go wrong?

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