Schumer pushes for vote to make clear Trump needs congressional approval for Iran War
Democrats returning from a White House meeting on the same page about limitations of current authorizations
Returning to Capitol Hill after a meeting at the White House about the shooting down of an American drone, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer increased the pressure for a floor vote to make clear that authorization would be needed for military action against Iran.
The New York Democrat highlighted an amendment that has been filed to the fiscal 2020 defense policy bill led by Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Tim Kaine, D-Va. The Senate is expected to proceed to the Pentagon legislation Monday evening.
“We told the room that the Democratic position is that congressional approval must be required before funding any conflict in Iran,” Schumer said. “One of the best ways to avoid bumbling into war, a war that nobody wants, is to have a robust, open debate, and for Congress to have a real say.”
Schumer said the lesson should be learned from the broad authorization granted for military action against Iraq during the George W. Bush presidency.
“We have an amendment, supported by every Democrat, to the NDAA in the Senate. It’s led by Sen. Udall. It would require congressional approval of any funding for a conflict in Iran. It’s supported by all of us,” Schumer said. “We are asking Leader McConnell to do the right thing and give us a vote next week on the NDAA on that amendment.” ...
Separately, supporters of the amendment discussed by Schumer also took to the Senate floor to make their case Thursday afternoon.
“If some colleagues here on the floor think we should be in a war with Iran, as some have publicly urged, let them come to the floor of the United States Senate in full view of the American people and make that argument,” Kaine said. “And I’ll make my argument about why a new war in the Middle East would be catastrophic and see who wants to stand up and make the argument that a new war in the Middle East is something that this great nation should do.
“And if we then have that argument, and cast a vote, and I lose, I’m going to be disappointed — but we will have done what the Constitution suggests that we must do,” Kaine said.
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Trump believes he doesn't need congressional approval to strike Iran
(CNN) President Donald Trump doesn't believe he needs congressional approval to make a military strike against Iran, but he likes "the idea of keeping Congress abreast."
"I do like keeping them -- they have ideas, they're intelligent people, they'll have some thoughts. I actually learned a couple of things the other day when we had our meeting with Congress, but I do like keeping them abreast, but I don't have to do it legally," the President said Monday in an interview with The Hill.
The question of Trump's authority to approve a military strike without congressional approval has been hotly debated among members of Congress in recent days amid escalating tensions with Iran.
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNN on Monday it would be within the President's authority to take military action against Iran, claiming "we're at war with them."
Senate to vote Friday on Trump's Iran war authority ...
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that leadership had hashed out a deal to vote on the proposal from Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and that they would hold the vote open to give 2020 candidates the chance to return from Miami.
“We intend to stay in session this week to finish the NDAA bill and allow for a vote in relation to the Udall amendment. Senators should plan to vote on Friday on the Udall amendment,” McConnell said from the Senate floor, referring to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
He added that “here’s the good news, the vote will start first thing in the morning and be held open into the afternoon to accommodate as many senators as possible.”
The amendment from Kaine and Udall would prevent Trump from using funding to take military action against Iran without congressional approval. Supporters of the amendment argue Trump could still use action without approval if American troops are attacked.
The amendment is unlikely to garner the 60 votes necessary to be added to the NDAA. Even if every Democrat supports the measure, they would still need to win over 13 Republicans.
27 Republicans just joined Democrats to block Trump from going to war with Iran without congressional approval ...
The measure, introduced by Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, would prohibit federal funds from being used for a military action against Iran without the blessing of Congress.
Celebrating the Iran amendment's success in tweets on Friday, Khanna said, "This is the only way to stop Trump from starting another costly war. Constitutional rights aren't optional and endless war isn't inevitable... This is how we democratize our foreign policy and put an end to unconstitutional war." ...
The measure was included with the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which the House passed on Friday afternoon and will have to be reconciled with the Senate version.
A similar measure failed to pass in the GOP-controlled Senate last month, and there appears to be a strong chance that it will be excluded from the final version of the $733 billion defense bill.