Senate Democrats said Tuesday theyve gathered enough votes to pass a war powers resolution that would curtail Republican President Donald Trumps military options against Iran as a third GOP senator publicly said hed support the resolution.
“We now have the 51 votes that we need,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.
Kaine said that hes been speaking to Republican colleagues who were disenfranchised with the classified briefing about the airstrike that took out Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
After gaining the support of Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kaine said hed earned the support of Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
“And there are a number of other Republicans who are looking at it as well,” he said.
The version thats attracted the support is a revised version that includes language added by GOP members.
“We now have a majority of colleagues, Democratic and Republican, who will stand strong for the principle that we shouldnt be at war without a vote of Congress,” Kaine said. “Im going to keep working to get more until we have this vote soon.”
“The framers gave to Congress the sole power to declare war because they knew that it would be a safeguard against a rush, we dont want a rush, this should be the hardest decision we make. And because were going to be ordering young men and women to risk their lives, we shouldnt do it unless we have the guts to have the debate and have the vote and say the war is in the national interest,” Kaine also said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that “so many Americans are worried” about what Trump might do in Iran.
“Its clear that the mother and fathers of America dont want another endless war in the Middle East, and yet the president could force us into one or, more likely, bumble into one,” he said.
The resolution “would prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran,” Schumer said.
The timing of the vote on the revised resolution hasnt been set as of yet.
The press conference came shortly after Young said he supports a revised version of the resolution from Kaine.
“I will be supporting, shall we call it, Kaine 2.0., the newer Kaine language, should I have an opportunity to vote on it,” Young told reporters in Washington.
Young said he wouldnt support Kaines original resolution.
“While I appreciate Senator Kaines willingness to revise this bill, I will be opposing the motion to discharge and hope that we can continue working on this issue in a less politicized manner,” he said. Young has been working with Kaine but “due to Senate parliamentarian procedures, those revisions will not be incorporated until after a partisan vote to discharge occurs.”
If Kaines original resolution is discharged from the Foreign Relations Committee, he can amend it before its voted on by the full Senate.