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National Security & Defense

Top Democrats Claim the War Powers Resolution Has the Four GOP Votes Needed to Pass Senate

Senator Susan Collins speaks to reporters after announcing her support for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, October 5, 2018. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) on Tuesday became the fourth Republican senator to declare support for a Democrat-led resolution that aims to curtail President Trump’s power to instigate military action against Iran.

With the addition of Collins and three other Republicans, Democrats say they have enough votes to pass the war powers resolution in the Senate.

“Congress cannot be sidelined on these important decisions,” Collins told the Washington Post after her announcement. The other Republican supporters of the resolution are libertarian-leaning senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, as well as Todd Young of Indiana.

The resolution was introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) following the killing of senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in early January. Kaine has since removed wording critical of President Trump in a bid to make it more palatable to Republicans, and Young dubbed the revised resolution “Kaine 2.0.”

Kaine said on Tuesday that he is attempting to bring even more Republican senators on board.

Paul and Lee declared their support after exiting an intelligence briefing last week on the Soleimani strike. Both were incensed by what they considered to be overreach by the executive branch in carrying out the strike without congressional knowledge or approval, as well as by the alleged flippancy of the officials who delivered the briefing.

“It is not acceptable for officials within the executive branch of government . . . to come in and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran,” Lee told reporters following the briefing. “It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional. And it’s wrong. And I hope and expect that they will show more deference to their limited power in the future.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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