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Senate Democrats eye vote this week on Trump’s Iran war powers

Senate Democrats are mulling forcing a debate as soon as Wednesday on President Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said floor action on his resolution could start on Wednesday, with a final vote potentially taking place this week.

The Senate is expected to leave on Thursday for a weeklong President’s Day recess.

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Asked if the debate started on Wednesday if they would finish before the break, Kaine said “that’s the hope.”

“It’s conceivable that you could get on the bill and then save that for after” the recess, Kaine said. “But I would like to go ahead and get it done.”

Kaine’s resolution would require Trump to withdraw troops from any military hostilities against Iran within 30 days unless he gets congressional approval. 

Four GOP senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Todd Young (Ind.) — are expected to support the resolution, giving it the 51 votes needed to pass.

Kaine added that there were “dynamics” and “atmospherics” that could result in additional Republicans coming on board, saying he would have “at least” 51 votes. 

“There’s some dynamics in play that might lead there to be more,” Kaine said, while stressing that he was not saying another Republican had told him they would support it. 

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Kaine’s resolution would first need to be be moved from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the floor. That hurdle could require 51 votes, though Kaine noted they could skip having a roll call vote.

After that it would still face additional procedural hurdles, and hours of debate, before the Senate got to a final vote.

A vote on the resolution comes after tensions between Tehran and the United States spiked earlier this year before de-escalating.

The House passed its own war powers resolution, but as a concurrent resolution it does not go to Trump’s desk for his signature and traditionally does not have the force of law. 

Kaine’s proposal, which is a joint resolution, would still need to be passed by the House and is all but guaranteed to be vetoed. 

The Senate would not have the 67 votes needed to override Trump’s veto. 

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