(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed an Iran war powers resolution introduced after the killing of Qassem Soleimani.
The vote came on the same day the Iranian regime and terrorist proxies marked the 40-day commemoration of the Qods Force commander’s death by directing fresh threats at the United States.
With eight Republicans joining all 47 Democrats, the measure limiting President Trump’s authority to attack Iran without congressional approval passed 55-45.
There was no early reaction from the president, although ahead of the vote he tweeted, “We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness. Americans overwhelmingly support our attack on terrorist Soleimani.”
“If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day,” he added. “Sends a very bad signal.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who introduced S.J. Res. 68 after the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3, tweeted ahead of the vote, “It’s deeply unfair to our troops to allow perpetual war to continue on autopilot. Our resolution says: no war unless you come and make the case to Congress first. If we’re not even willing to have that debate, we shouldn’t be forcing people to risk their lives.”
During Thursday’s debate Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) proposed an amendment that would exempt U.S. armed forces “engaged in operations directed at entities designated as foreign terrorist organizations.”
Kaine argued Cotton’s amendment would create “a very dangerous precedent,” allowing the president to carry out a military attack, unchecked, against any of the 69 groups currently designated as FTOs. “The FTO list has never been a war authorization.”
Cotton disputed that. “This is not about the Basques, the IRA,” he said. “The resolution itself says it only applies to the government of Iran. So this is indeed only about the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
Calling for support for his amendment, Cotton, a U.S. Army combat veteran, recalled the use by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq of “explosively formed penetrators,” an especially deadly form of roadside bomb.
“That takes a slug of copper, superheats it into a ball of magma, and sends it hurtling through the air at 6,000 feet per second at our troops,” he said. “I will spare you the graphic details of what a liquid ball of copper magma does traveling at 6,000 feet per second to the human body, but I will tell you that those were smuggled into Iraq by, yes, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
“So the vote here is simple: Do you want to vote to stand with our troops, hundreds of whom have died at the hands of Iran, or do you want to vote to be a lawyer for Iranian terrorists?”
Cotton’s amendment failed by a 46-54 vote, with seven Republicans voting with the Democrats to kill it
The White House has signaled that Trump will veto S.J. Res. 68 if it arrives on his desk, arguing that it “fails to account for present reality.”
“It was drafted many weeks ago with the intent of preventing an escalation between the United States and Iran,” says an administration statement of policy. “Despite the predictions of many people, however, no such escalation occurred.”
“The resolution is thus grounded in a faulty premise. The United States is not currently engaged in any use of force against Iran, in part because of the sound policies and decisive, effective actions of this administration.”
The White House argued that S.J. Res. 68, “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.”
The eight Republicans who supported the War Powers measure were:
Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.), Todd Young (Ind.)
With the exception of Moran, the same group of Republicans opposed Cotton’s amendment.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said after the vote Trump should veto the resolution, take whatever military steps are necessary to disrupt or prevent attacks against Americans by the Iranian regime or its proxies, and retaliate decisively if the regime or proxies kill Americans.
Kaine’s text does include a provision saying that, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the United States from defending itself from imminent attack.”
But the White House said in its policy statement that the president could foreseeably be required to “respond to Iranian threats beyond direct attacks on the United States.”
Threats against the U.S. and its allies were plentiful in Iran and the region on Thursday, as the 40-day anniversary of Soleimani’s “martyrdom” was marked.
Regime media also anticipated the vote in the U.S. Senate.
“Senate Moves to Rein In Trump’s War Powers,” ran the front page headline in Kayhan, a hardline publication whose editor is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.