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Senate passes measure curbing Trump's war powers

By Don Jacobson & Sommer Brokaw
Senate passes measure curbing Trump's war powers
President Donald Trump walks at the White House on Wednesday. A short time later, he warned Congress that he would veto a resolution to limit his unilateral war powers. Photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate passed a resolution Thursday to limit President Donald Trump's authority to take military action against Iran.

The 55-45 vote came after Trump's Jan. 2 order of an airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qassim Soleimani drew condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans, which prompted the War Powers resolution.

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The bipartisan War Powers measure, authored by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., requires the president to cease all hostilities targeting Iran within 30 days unless explicitly approved by Congress.

Along with all 47 Democrats, eight Republicans, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Todd Young, R-Ind., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rand Paul, R-Ky., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Bill Cassidy, R-La. and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., supported the measure.

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Earlier in the day, Democrats defeated Sen. Tom Cotton's, R-Ark., amendment that would have deflated the resolution through an exemption for military forces in operations targeting foreign designated terrorist groups.

The Democratic majority in the House is expected to pass the measure next, after which it would go to Trump for his signature.

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The White House issued an official veto warning Wednesday.

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"It is very important for our country's SECURITY that the United States Senate not vote for the Iran War Powers Resolution," Trump tweeted.

"If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal."

Sixty-seven votes would be needed in the Senate to override a veto, which is considered unlikely.

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The Senate failed last year to override Trump's veto of a similar resolution that ordered an end to the administration's support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Democrats said Senate approval Thursday would still serve notice that Congress demands a greater say in decisions about taking military action.

"The president will veto it, but it sends a shot across his bow that the majority of the Senate and the majority of the House do not want the president waging war without congressional approval," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said.

The House passed a similar resolution last month but it lacked legal authority and it wasn't taken up by the Senate.

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