WASHINGTON — The Senate is voting today on placing restrictions on President Donald Trump’s ability to launch a war against Iran. The chances for passage are slim and its chance of being followed even more slim.
The vote on the measure, which needs 60 votes to pass, started at 5 a.m. and will be held open for most of the day to permit Democratic senators who were at Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Miami to vote. The early start is designed to let other senators leave early for the July 4 recess.
The measure would require congressional approval prior to a military strike on Iran. On Monday, President Trump said he did not think he needed congressional approval to hit Iran, according to news reports.
The amendment needs 60 votes to pass. If approved, it would be part of the $750 billion defense authorization bill for 2020, which passed the Senate Thursday on a 86-8 vote.
Analysts said it is not likely the amendment will find 60 votes to become part of the bill. Even if it were included in the defense bill and becomes law, they said it is unlikely Trump would heed the requirement.
“Every president since 1973 has violated the War Powers Act expressly without cost, making it progressively easier and easier for subsequent presidents to take unilateral action,” Daniel L. Davis, a senior fellow at Defense Priorities, a Washington think tank, told TMN in an interview.
“The Senate is right to stand up for Constitutional separation of powers, even if Trump does veto it,” he said. “Congress must reassert its control over war-making powers, or we may one day discover that one single person plunges the nation into a war that the people would never have supported, that should never have been fought, and we may suffer egregiously as a nation.”
On Tuesday, a similar measure was introduced in the House as an amendment to its version of the defense authorization bill. The House is expected to vote on the defense measure in July.