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Senate Passes War Powers Resolution to Stop Trump From Launching 'Illegal' Attack on Iran

"The nation should not be at war without a vote of Congress," said Sen. Tim Kaine, the measure's lead sponsor.

Demonstrators hold up signs during the "No War With Iran" Rally for Moveon.org at the U.S. Capitol on January 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for MoveOn.org)

The Senate on Thursday passed a War Powers Resolution aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from launching military action against Iran without congressional approval.

"The nation should not be at war without a vote of Congress," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the lead sponsor of S.J. Res. 68.

The resolution passed by a vote of 55-45—with the support of eight Republicans—and now heads to the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass.

Kaine's measure directs the president to "terminate the use of United States Armed Forces for hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force against Iran."

Erica Fein, advocacy director at Win Without War, said in a statement that the Senate vote sends an unequivocal message to Trump: "We will not allow Donald Trump to drag the United States into another endless war of choice against the will of the people."

Trump's unilateral and likely illegal decision last month to assassinate Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike in Baghdad nearly sparked an all-out war with Iran. On Wednesday, the president threatened to veto the War Powers Resolution, claiming it would leave his hands "tied." Overriding the president's veto would require a two-thirds supermajority in the House and Senate.

"I voted YES," tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "Unlike Trump, today's bipartisan vote made it clear that a majority of the U.S. Senate believes in our Constitution and the separation of powers. It is Congress, not the president, who has the power to take this country into war, and that's what this vote was about."

Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at progressive advocacy group Peace Action, celebrated the Senate's passage of the War Powers Resolution as a necessary step toward constraining Trump's "reckless foreign policy."

"The failed policy of maximum provocation towards Iran keeps the U.S. on the precipice of another blunderous war of choice in the Middle East," Martin said. "We need conversations not a catastrophe."

NIAC Action policy director Ryan Costello said in a statement that "the American people do not want a new front in the forever war with Iran."

"It is the duty of Congress to reflect the aspirations of the American people and protect its Constitutional authorities from being trampled by the president," Costello added.

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