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Analysis

No To Hawkish Policy: Senate Bill Limits Trump War Powers

Sunday 16 February 2020
No To Hawkish Policy: Senate Bill Limits Trump War Powers

Alwaght- TheUS Senate on Thursday voted to limit President Donald Trump’s military powers to wage a war against Iran. 

The motion was initiated by Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, weeks after a drone strike directly ordered by Trump assassinated Iranian IRGC’s Quds Force’s Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis just outside Baghdad International Airport. 

Kaine drafted the resolution in early January as tensions ratcheted up with Iran after the strike in Baghdad. Despite the White House’s push to isolate the Democratic sponsors of the resolution, some of the Republican senators backed the anti-Trump push, though his staff said that he would veto the resolution once it reaches his desk.

Senators reject Trump’s call 

Before the resolution was passed by the Senate, Trump in a string of Twitter messages asked the lawmakers, mainly the Republicans, to reject the majorly Democratic effort to limit his power to take military action with congressional authorization. To his frustration, the resolution was passed, signaling that the senators do not want Trump to wage a war with Tehran. 

Trump had told the senators that the presidential military powers were crucial for American security. 

"It is very important for our country's security that the United States Senate not vote for the Iran War Powers Resolution. We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness,” a Trump tweet read. He added in another tweet: “If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal.” 

To pass, the bill needed 50 yes votes of the senators. 55 senators voted for it to be approved. 

What does the Iran War Powers bill mean? 

The Kaine-drafted resolution asks Trump administration to end all kinds of hostilities against Iran within 30 days unless the Senate approves an anti-Iranian military action plan. 

The bill proceedings were stopped for three weeks as the Congress was busy with Trump impeachment that ended last week with his acquittal as the Republicans blocked witnesses invited to testify against Trump in the court. 

According to the bill, the leverage given to US president in 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, will be revoked. So, the president will need congressional authorization before he can wage a war against Iran. 

President George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003 using these presidential military powers. The recent tensions with Iran have rendered some lawmakers and politicians worried about Trump possibly going to war against Iran without any permission from the Congress. 

Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate’s Democratic minority, in a Twitter post said: “the Senate just passed Senator Kaine’s War Powers Resolution to tell President Trump: Enough with the endless wars. Enough of the president sidestepping Congress in matters of war and peace. Enough unilateral action that risks a massive escalation of hostilities.  

The Democrats argue that although Trump, as did his predecessors, have the right and powers to defend the country against possible attacks, the powers to take an offensive military action need the final authorization of the Congress. 

Trump’s possible vetoing of the resolution 

Trump, as he already said, is expected to veto the bill when it is sent to him. Should he veto it, the bill will be sent to the Congress. Two-thirds of yes vote will override the president’s veto. 

Republicans divided over Trump 

The Republican leaders of the Senate and the House were strongly opposed to the bill. However, three of the Republicans of the House and eight Republicans of the Senate joined the Democratic-led attempt and voted in favor of the bill. 

When the resolution was passed, Congressman Michael McCaul (Republican of Texas), Lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released a statement regarding Senate passage of the War Powers Resolution that he said would tie the President’s hands and limit his ability to protect Americans abroad.

“The dangerous War Powers Resolution passed by the Senate is in defiance of the realities on the ground and is based on the false premise that the U.S. is engaged in hostilities with Iran. It directs the President to withdraw U.S. forces from hostilities with Iran that do not exist while denying his ability to protect American diplomats and citizens from imminent threats abroad. This resolution serves to tie the President’s hands and sends the wrong message to a brutal regime with American blood on its hands. America needs to be united behind our Commander in Chief and troops, not divided as the Democrats have made us today,” his statement read. 

Record of Trump war power limitation 

The new effort to limit Trump’s power to wage a war against Iran is the second effort of this king in less than a year. In April last year, Congress passed a directive to end the US involvement in the Saudi-led coalition’s war against Yemen. Trump vetoed it, however. 

Reacting to the bill, the White House said that the president will veto any resolution that would limit his powers to take military action.

Tags :

Trump War Resolution Iran Senate

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