In-Depth: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced this legislation that will receive privileged consideration on the Senate floor under the War Powers Resolution to block the use of military force by the U.S. against Iran:
“For years, I’ve been deeply concerned about President Trump stumbling into a war with Iran. We’re now at a boiling point, and Congress must step in before Trump puts even more of our troops in harm’s way. We owe it to our servicemembers to have a debate and vote about whether or not it’s in our national interest to engage in another unnecessary war in the Middle East.”
The Trump administration promised to veto this resolution, arguing that the strike that killed Iranian General Soleimani in Iraq was authorized under the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force, which is still in effect and has been used to justify military action against terror groups in Iraq. The White House’s statement of administration policy against this bill argued in part:
"S.J. Res. 68 also should be rejected because it attempts to hinder the President’s ability to protect
United States diplomats, forces, allies, and partners, including Israel, from the continued threat
posed by Iran and its proxies. Iran has a long history of attacking United States and coalition
forces both directly and through its proxies. S.J. Res. 68 could hinder the President’s ability to
protect United States forces and interests in the region through actions to de-escalate the threat
posed by Iran and its proxies. The resolution’s “rule of construction” that “nothing in this
section shall be construed to prevent the United States from defending itself from imminent
attack” does not remedy this problem. Protecting the national security of the United States could
foreseeably require the President to respond to Iranian threats beyond direct attacks on the
In the summer of 2019, an amendment to the FY2020 defense and intelligence authorization bill sought to require congressional approval for any strike against Iran (except in cases of self-defense). The amendment failed by a 50-40 margin which fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed for adoption. It was the longest vote in the history of the Senate, and was held open for 10 hours and 8 minutes to allow Democratic senators participating in presidential debates time to return to the Capitol for the vote.
This legislation has the support of 27 cosponsors
in the Senate, including 22 Democrats, three Republicans, and two Independents.
Of Note: Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, which functions as a combination of an external intelligence agency and special operations unit. The Quds Force itself is considered a terror organization by the U.S., and supports several terror groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas & the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza & the West Bank, the Houthis in Yemen, and Shia militias in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. The Quds Forces’ activities in Iraq contributed to the deaths of more than 600 American military personnel and the wounding of thousands more in Iraq. Soleimani, along with a senior leader of an Iraqi Shia militia sponsored by Iran, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad in January 2020.
A retaliatory missile strike by Iran against U.S. military bases in Iraq resulted in no fatalities, although according to the Pentagon more than 100 U.S. personnel suffered from concussion-like brain injuries in the attack.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force - Senior Airman Cory Payne / Public Domain)