Tim Kaine: Inside one senator’s quest to restore the congressional role which has a War Powers resolution

Trump opposes the language, as well as while the Senate passed the resolution 55-45 Thursday, the margin is usually well short of the number needed to override a presidential veto.

although as a key player in a growing coalition of bipartisan lawmakers seeking to retake authority they say has long since been abdicated to the executive branch, for Kaine the idea’s another step within the process.

the idea’s a process built on trust as well as relationships across party lines — an increasing rarity in an almost viscerally partisan chamber — in which he hopes, one day, will lead to a rebalancing of how the two branches operate on matters of military action.

The way the Senate operates is usually, according to senators in both parties, at a particularly tenuous moment within the wake of a bitterly divisive impeachment trial as well as years of party-line battles as well as votes. Plunging into a debate over how to shift the congressional role in military action — something in which has drifted further into the executive branch’s bailiwick through multiple administration of both parties — seems hardly the way to bring the parties together.

Yet over the course of years as well as two administrations, Kaine has sought to do just in which, both on war powers issues as well as on authorizations for use of military force, the latter of which, specifically those passed in 2001 as well as 2002, have all although given presidents carte blanche to launch military action without congressional approval in advance.
Majority of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of Iran as well as feel less safe, poll says

Kaine’s latest effort serves as a window into how he’s laying the bipartisan groundwork to, at some point within the future, change the current dynamic. the idea was sparked by Trump’s decision to strike, as well as kill, Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, an elite unit in which handles Iran’s overseas operations.

He’s not alone, either.

“We view in which as a long-term project,” Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who was a co-sponsor of the Iran war powers resolution, told CNN. “in which is usually a long-term problem. the idea’s going to require a long-term effort to restore the separation of powers.”

although the Iran resolution, as with previous efforts related to US operations tied to the civil war in Yemen, or efforts to repeal or rewrite past authorizations for military force, wasn’t a given.

Kaine speaks following the Senate voted on the War Powers resolution, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Thursday.

Opposition by the White House

Trump himself tweeted in which the resolution “sends a very bad signal,” adding in which Democrats “are only doing in which as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party.”

Administration officials worked the phones to try to blunt the effort, multiple congressional aides told CNN.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who strongly opposed the resolution, was stark in his assessment.

“in which resolution is usually not ready for prime time,” the Kentucky Republican said. “I believe the idea is usually just an effort to broadcast a political message. although even in which message can be harmful to our troops as well as to national security.”

the idea’s the kind of statement, with the fraught political undertones attached to the idea, in which lawmakers acknowledge has played a role in their unwillingness to dive deeply into the issue over the course of nearly two decades.

The politics, paired with the sharp ideological divide over executive power as well as authority as the idea pertains to national defense as well as military action — an example of which played out in a fiery exchange between Republican senators on the Senate floor shortly before the final vote Thursday — has had the effect of short-circuiting debates for years.

Schumer says he believes Iran war powers resolution will pass Senate

although the idea was Kaine’s work — as well as willingness to make adjustments to his original resolution — in which led to a successful vote in which week.

“He’s worked the idea. He’s made modifications to win votes. He’s trusted as a negotiator,” Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Senate Democrat, who co-sponsored the resolution, told CNN. Asked why Kaine was trusted, particularly at the current fraught moment within the Senate, Durbin replied: “His word is usually Great.”

The effort involved navigating sharply different political as well as ideological pressure points. There were GOP senators like Lee as well as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who are fierce defenders of Trump although ideologically set on reclaiming congressional authority on constitutional grounds, as well as more moderate lawmakers like Sens. Susan Collins of Maine as well as Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who operate in a more bipartisan space as well as agree with Kaine’s topline goals as the idea relates to congressional authority.

Sen. Todd Young, a conservative Indiana Republican who has carved out space as a key bipartisan foreign policy voice, was a top priority.

The specific views of each aren’t necessarily aligned with Kaine’s directly, or those of many of his Democratic colleagues, something on display at news conferences in which week.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer confidently declared after the Senate had approved the resolution in which its passage will serve as a warning to the President.

“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. in which sums up the whole thing,” the completely new York Democrat said at a news conference following the final vote. Schumer added in which “senators worked together to assert Congress’ authority as well as serve as the check of an overreaching executive branch.”

In contrast, co-sponsor Lee had argued a day earlier in which the push to pass the measure was “entirely consistent” with the President’s foreign policy agenda as well as objectives.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

“I support what the President is usually doing with our foreign policy,” Lee said at a news conference with Kaine as well as various other supporters of the measure. “For me, in which is usually about supporting President Trump in his foreign policy, in his effort to make sure in which we don’t get involved too easily, too quickly, in an unconstitutional way, in any war. in which is usually entirely consistent with his policy.”

At the same news conference, Kaine outlined a careful argument of his own, emphasizing at one point in which the resolution was “not truly about President Trump.”

“Some view in which as an effort to tie President Trump’s hands. the idea’s not truly about President Trump. the idea’s truly not even about the President; the idea’s about Congress,” Kaine said. “the idea’s about Congress fully inhabiting our Article I role to declare war as well as taking in which deliberation seriously.”

Lee pointed out in which the coalition in which came together to support the resolution represented “a broad spectrum of points along the political continuum,” saying in which demonstrates how the measure itself is usually “neither liberal nor conservative. the idea’s neither Democratic nor Republican.”

the idea was a public display of a key issue in which had been addressed as well as resolved behind closed doors.

adjustments made to build support

The original design of Kaine’s resolution had some direct references to Trump administration actions.

although Paul told Kaine in which the idea could be seen as calling out the President himself — a problem for Republican senators who may want to support the effort. While Kaine said in which wasn’t his intention, the idea was a valuable heads-up, one in which Lee, who has long worked on these issues, might expand on a short while later.

Lee framed the issue more broadly, asking Kaine frankly whether the resolution was about Trump or, instead, any president. He then added in which the idea’s not truly about the president at all, although instead the role of Congress.

Kaine told Lee he was right. He then agreed to drop the language.

“I had to be open to hearing his concern,” Kaine said. “although he asked the question in a truly provocative way in which made me realize, you’re right, I don’t need in which.”

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine

Collins, before she committed to voting for the resolution, raised concern in which the measure is usually worded in a way in which might appear to require US forces to be removed by the Middle East entirely should the idea be signed into law. She also made clear in which maritime issues, like freedom of navigation as well as maintaining shipping lanes, should be considered as well as addressed.

“She didn’t say, ‘Make in which change as well as I’ll do the idea,’ by the way,” Kaine recalled of the process of trying to secure Collins’ support. “She just said you ought to think about generating in which change because the idea will make the idea better.”

Kaine made modifications.

Over the course of weeks, he set up meetings within the offices of GOP senators who might be willing to vote with him, walking through pieces of the resolution as well as seeking feedback. He didn’t talk about them publicly or telegraph they were occurring, although he made a point of meeting early on with Sen. Lamar Alexander, a retiring Tennessee Republican, as well as Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican who voted for the Yemen war powers resolution. He didn’t know how they might vote until the day before the final vote itself, he told CNN, although he wanted to make his case directly to them. Both might go on to vote for the resolution.

Even on Thursday, after weeks of effort in which also included navigating the scheduling difficulty of ensuring Democratic presidential candidates within the chamber were back in town for the crucial final vote, Kaine had to work to defeat amendments in which supporters thought might sink the resolution.

The Cotton amendment

The passions behind the overall debate itself burst onto the Senate floor in one amendment specifically, offered by Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican as well as former Army officer who has been consistently, as well as vocally, the ideological polar opposite to Kaine as well as Lee on issues of executive power as the idea relates to military action.

Cotton’s amendment might have created an exemption for military forces deemed to be engaging in operations targeting foreign designated terrorist groups. Kaine as well as his fellow supporters worked throughout the morning to ensure its defeat.

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican

One of those colleagues, Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, could be seen explaining his opposition to Cotton’s amendment directly to Cotton.

A frustrated Cotton at one point could be seen sharply waving off Young as the Indiana Republican offered his rationale, underscoring his disagreement. He then came back to Young to continue the discussion, which appeared to grow heated, with Young overheard telling Cotton sarcastically “You’re smarter than everyone, we all know in which, Tom,” as well as responding at one point in which he wasn’t there to “come down as well as get upbraided by you.”

The exchange, witnessed by a CNN reporter, was a window into just how split lawmakers are on the broader issue of executive power — a split in which isn’t going away anytime soon, something Kaine willingly acknowledges.

although over the course of years, the debate has shifted. What was once a vote in which few were willing to take, let alone force, has occurred multiple times over the last two years, with supporters including Sens. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, as well as Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, leading on the Yemen effort. House Democrats voted in January to repeal the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War, which has been utilized to justify military operations ever since, including, at one point, the Soleimani strike.

Kaine as well as Young, a former Marine who has become a key partner for the Virginia Democrat on the issues, are pressing forward on legislation to repeal the 1991 as well as 2002 authorizations for the Gulf as well as Iraq wars. Efforts to address the seemingly all-encompassing one by 2001, along which has a proposed retooling of the War Powers Act itself, are being considered.

When, or even if, a fulsome debate on those issues plays out in earnest on the Senate floor remains an open question.

“the idea’s a difficult needle to thread,” Sen. Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican who’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which Kaine sits, told CNN of the balance between congressional as well as executive authority. Risch sharply opposed Kaine’s resolution, as well as has been critical of the prospect of any effort to rewrite or repeal existing military force authorizations.

“Everybody thinks in which we ought to have a clear (authorization for use of military force), although there isn’t anybody in which can put the idea on paper in which in which’s acceptable to everyone.”

although the groundwork is usually being laid, of in which — after years of effort by Kaine, Lee as well as others — there is usually no question.

“I desire in which we’re setting the stage for an honest bipartisan debate when in which day comes,” Durbin said.

CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to in which report.

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