Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said Monday that he believes at least some Republicans will vote for his war powers resolution forcing President Trump to back down on Iran or get approval from Congress.
Kaine introduced the resolution Friday. If it passes, it would direct Trump to “remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military" within 30 days of the enactment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is advancing a similar resolution in her chamber.
War powers resolutions are privileged, which means Kaine's measure must get a vote. They also require only a simple majority to pass, so he needs to attract just four Republicans.
He expressed optimism to reporters on Capitol Hill because a number of Republicans in the Senate last session backed provisions to restrict the United States' support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Several also supported ending the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use military force against Al Qaeda and then Iraq in this year's National Defense Authorization Act, although the provision did not survive to the final version of the bill. President Trump vetoed the Yemen resolution.
"Based on the votes on both Yemen and the NDAA, I suspect there should be some Republicans as well," said Kaine, who has been in discussions with members of the GOP about his measure. "They may have a different view on whether we should be at war with Iran, but I do expect many of them believe that it should be the Congress, not the President, who decides."
Trump can veto it, as he did the Yemen resolution. The soonest the process on his measure could start would be Jan. 13, but it could be complicated by the impeachment case against Trump if the Senate begins its trial. Kaine said he thought his resolution would advance, regardless.
"My suspicion is we'll be doing other things while we're doing the trial," Kaine said. "There's not going to be no other Senate business during the trial."
Kaine saw less chance that a bill sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would ever see the light of day because it would require cooperation from a GOP committee chair and would face a filibuster. Sanders wants to bar the president from spending any money to battle Iran.