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Senate rejects amendment requiring congressional approval for military strikes

Trump issues stark warning to Iran
Trump issues stark warning to Iran 02:09

The Senate rejected an amendment that would require President Trump to seek congressional approval before ordering military strikes. The amendment received only 50 votes, fewer than the 60 votes necessary to pass, but was forced by Democrats to get lawmakers on the record on the issue amid rising tensions with Iran.

The vote began shortly after 5 a.m. and was be held open for most of the day and into the afternoon, making it the longest roll call vote in Senate history. The unusually long time span for the roll call vote was to accommodate senators who are in town but need to leave early for commitments, and those Democratic senators who are at the Democratic debate in Miami, Florida, and can't get back to Washington until later in the day. Over two dozen votes were cast by 7 a.m.

The only Republicans to support the bill were Sens. Jerry Moran, Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Susan Collins.

A similar amendment is under consideration in the House, introduced by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna. Although they are ideological opposites on nearly every issue, Khanna and Gaetz agree on a key issue: the president can't start a war with Iran without Congress' stamp of approval.

On Tuesday, Khanna and Gaetz introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent federal funds from being used for any military force in Iran without congressional approval. The president has argued he has the authority under current law to launch strikes against Iran without going to Congress first.

The pair applauded the Senate on Thursday for agreeing to hold the vote in the upper chamber on Friday.

Concerns about the president unilaterally deciding to strike Iran have risen in Congress after Mr. Trump's last-minute decision to call off a strike against Iran after the downing of an American drone. Last week, Mr. Trump ordered the military to conduct a limited strike against Iran in retaliation, but then called off the operation just an hour before it was to begin.

The president threatened "obliteration" of Iran if the country carries out an attack on "anything American" in a series of tweets on Tuesday. Mr. Trump also suggested Wednesday that any potential war with Iran "wouldn't last very long."

In an interview with Hill.TV on Monday, Mr. Trump said he did not believe he needed congressional approval to launch a strike against Iran.

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