WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to rein in President Donald Trump from attacking Iran, sharply rebuking his foreign policy despite a week earlier acquitting him in his impeachment trial.
Eight senators of Trump’s Republican Party, which enjoys a majority, bucked their leadership to join Democrats in a resolution that bars any military action against Iran without an explicit vote from Congress.
"The Senate just sent a clear shot across the bow -- a bipartisan majority of senators don’t want the president waging war without congressional approval,” Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.
The resolution will head to the Democratic-led House of Representatives, which passed a similar text last month.
But much like an earlier attempt by Congress to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, Trump is nearly certain to issue a veto, with lawmakers lacking the two-thirds majority to overturn it.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine introduced the resolution after U.S. assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani, concerned that the United States was rushing into another Middle East war without debate.
Iran responded to the terrorist move, pounding two U.S. military bases in Iraq with a dozen precision-guided missiles which left nearly 109 American troops with serious "traumatic injuries”.
The unprecedented response rattled the U.S., realizing that Iran is not a country to be pushed over easily, even as American leaders tried to play it down.
While warning of dire consequences of an escalating conflict with Iran, Kaine said his main point was to restore the authority of Congress to declare war, as spelled out in the U.S. Constitution.
"An offensive war requires a congressional debate and vote. This should not be a controversial proposition,” Kaine said in a speech on the Senate floor.
The resolution makes an exception if the United States is "defending itself from an imminent act.”
Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth put concerns about Trump more bluntly.
"My 21-month-old toddler has better self-control than this president does,” she told reporters.
Tensions have soared between the
United States and Iran since 2018 when Trump withdrew from a denuclearization accord negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and imposed sweeping sanctions aimed at reducing Tehran’s regional clout.
The Senate defeated a motion by Senator Tom Cotton, a vociferous opponent of Iran, to gut the resolution by exempting any military action directed at "designated terrorist organizations.”
Eight Republicans -- all of whom voted to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial -- joined the Democrats.
Senator Susan Collins, a closely watched moderate Republican, said the resolution will show that "no president has the authority to commit our military to a sustained conflict.”
Among other Republicans who voted yes was Mike Lee, who said a classified session by the Trump administration after the assassination of Gen. Soleimani was uninformative and the "worst” military briefing he has ever received.