June 28 (UPI) -- The House and Senate are considering an amendment to block President Donald Trump's ability to strike Iran militarily without congressional approval but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back on the effort.
On Tuesday, Trump threatened Iran with the use of "overwhelming force" if the country attacked the United States. The president's threat on Twitter came after Iranians criticized Trump's use of additional sanctions to pushes the Persian Gulf country to shooting down an unmanned military drone.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, called on his fellow senators to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to stop Trump from starting what he called an "unauthorized war" with Iran.
Kaine, who ran on the Democratic ticket with Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election against Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, said in a statement the Senate would vote on the amendment Friday. The amendment was also supported by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Tom Udall, D-N.M.
"After 18 years of two wars in the Middle East, both of which where we still have troops deployed, we should not be fomenting, encouraging, blundering toward, rushing into a third war in the Middle East," Kaine said in his floor speech Thursday.
"It would suck lives and resources away from more pressing priorities of our citizens. Bogging ourselves down in another war against a smaller, weaker, far-away nation would divert our attention from acting firmly to counter our chief competitor, China," he added.
On the House side, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., led sponsoring the amendment there.
"This amendment affirms what President Trump knows and believes: unfocused, unconstitutional, unending wars in the Middle East make America weaker, not stronger," Gaetz said in a statement.
"... Iran must be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon and threatening international peace, but Congress must resolve to ensure that any military action is carried out constitutionally," he added.
McConnell, R-Ky., said, though, such a move could tie Trump's hands at a time when he may need to act swiftly to actions by Iran.
"At the very moment that Iran has been stepping up its aggression throughout the Middle East, these senators are proposing radical new restrictions on the administration's ability to defend U.S. interests and our partners," McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday. "The president's hands would be tied (by the amendment)."