Senate Republicans defied Trump and voted to stop him from taking further military action against Iran

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question from a reporter following a signing ceremony for the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act inside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 11, 2020.  REUTERS/Tom Brenner
  • The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution that would block Trump from going to war with Iran without congressional approval.
  • A number of Republicans defied the president, who was heavily opposed to the resolution, and voted in favor of the measure. The final vote was 54 in favor and 46 opposed.
  • The measure is expected to pass in the House, but Trump is poised to veto it. 
  • Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia sponsored the measure.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

A number of Republican senators joined Democrats on Thursday to vote in favor of a resolution barring President Donald Trump from taking further military actions against Iran without congressional approval. 

The final vote was 54 senators in favor and 46 opposed.

The resolution, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, was heavily opposed by Trump. 

In tweets on Wednesday, Trump said: "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...If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party. Don't let it happen!"

Kaine introduced the resolution in January after Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani. 

The Soleimani strike pushed the US to the brink of war with Iran, and resulted in an Iranian missile attack that left over 100 US service members with mild traumatic brain injuries, which the president has downplayed.

Though the US and Iran moved away from a wider conflict, tensions are still high as the Trump administration continues to hammer Tehran with harsh economic sanctions as part of a maximum 

Kaine on Wednesday rejected the notion pushed by Trump and his GOP allies that the resolution, if passed, would serve as a sign of weakness to Iran. 

"When we stand up for the rule of law - in a world that hungers for more rule of law - and say 'this decision is fundamental, and we have rules that we are going to follow so we can make a good decision,' that's a message of strength," Kaine said, per the Associated Press.

In an interview with CNN, Kaine said, "We're not tying the President's hands. We are just saying war is the most serious thing that we do. It should only be done after serious deliberation. No one person should make the decision on their own."

 

GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who signed as a co-sponsor on Kaine's resolution, echoed these sentiments. 

"What the American people and the entire world will see from the debate we're about to have in the Senate is that there is abundant support for the United States taking tough positions with regard to Iran," Lee said Wednesday. "And as part of that we want to make sure that any military action that needs to be authorized is in fact properly authorized by Congress. That doesn't show weakness. That shows strength."

The House in early January passed a war powers resolution to bar Trump from taking military action against Iran without congressional approval. But it was a concurrent resolution, meaning it doesn't require the president's signature and is non-binding, and Republicans dismissed it as largely symbolic. 

Kaine's resolution is a joint resolution, meaning it would require Trump's signature and would be binding. The resolution is expected to pass in the House, but Trump is expected to veto it

Separately, the House in late January also passed a pair of measures Thursday aimed at limiting President Donald Trump's ability to go to war with Iran. 

Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California sponsored the first measure, the No War Against Iran Act, which aims to deny the Pentagon any funds for military action against Iran without congressional approval. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, introduced a companion measure in the Senate. 

Four House Republicans - Matt Gaetz, Warren Davidson, Trey Hollingsworth, and Thomas Massie - voted in favor of Khanna's measure. 

The House at the time also voted on an amendment introduced by Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, the law that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq under the Bush administration. The Trump administration justified the Soleimani strike under the 2002 AUMF, though legal scholars rejected this.

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