WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP/WAVY) — Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, has introduced a war powers resolution to limit the president’s military actions regarding Iran.
The Democrat wants to force a debate and vote in Congress over President Donald Trump’s recent actions against Iran.
Kaine says if the U.S. is going to ask young men and women in the military to risk their lives, then Congress should have the guts to debate why war might be necessary and to vote on it.
Congress, which has the sole power to declare war, has complained that Trump did not provide advance notice of his airstrike on Iranian official, Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
“Congress has developed a real expertise in avoiding these kind of votes,” Kaine said. “They don’t want to have to vote on war because the polling might be bad or the consequences are hard to predict.”
Trump did meet the 48-hour deadline required by the War Powers Act to notify Congress after the deadly drone strike, though the document was classified and no public version was released.
Trump has also threatened to attack Iranian cultural sites, a military action that likely would be illegal under the laws of armed conflict and the U.N. charter.
Kaine said for decades now, both parties in both houses have been willing to just let the president take military action while hiding from their own responsibilities.
While his critics claim this is a move to limit the president’s reach, Kaine argues it’s not, twice citing when he pushed President Barack Obama on action aimed at Libya and ISIS.
“Since I came to the Senate, I have been very focused on the issue that we shouldn’t be at war without a vote of Congress and I’ve taken that position when the Democrats were in majority or in minority, and I’ve taken that position no matter who was in the White House,” he said.
“It shows that he is somewhat deranged about this. The pledge to attack cultural sites, likely, is a violation of international law. And, you know, that he’s doing these kinds of threats, and not even briefing Congress,” said Senator Kaine.
Kaine’s resolution must sit in the foreign relations committee until Jan. 13.
Kaine said he will work with the co-sponsor of the resolution, Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, to gain more support for his resolution. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has also said the House will vote on a similar bill this week.
Kaine told WAVY’s Stephanie Harris he will bring it to the floor with or without that support.