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Senators file war powers resolution to prevent war with Iran

War powers resolutions are top priority. The Senate will be forced to vote on the legislation.
Credit: AP
Protesters burn a U.S. flag during a demonstration over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 3, 2020. Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation" for the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad's airport that killed Tehran's top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

WASHINGTON — Senators Tim Kaine and Dick Durbin introduced a war powers resolution to force a debate and vote in Congress to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran. 

This comes after a U.S. airstrike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump.

Soleimani was the architect of Iran's regional security apparatus. The strike happened at Baghdad's international airport Friday, Iranian state television and three Iraqi officials said. "General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region," the Department of Defense said in a statement. 

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The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Iraqi officials said.  

The Department of Defense said, "at the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization."

“For years, I’ve been deeply concerned about President Trump stumbling into a war with Iran. We’re now at a boiling point, and Congress must step in before Trump puts even more of our troops in harm’s way. We owe it to our servicemembers to have a debate and vote about whether or not it’s in our national interest to engage in another unnecessary war in the Middle East,” said Senator Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees.

War powers resolutions are privileged, meaning that the Senate will be forced to vote on the legislation. The resolution underscores that Congress has the sole power to declare war, as laid out in the Constitution.

The resolution requires that any hostilities with Iran must be explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force, but does not prevent the United States from defending itself from imminent attack. The resolution will force a public debate and vote in Congress as intended by the framers of the Constitution to determine whether United States forces should be engaged in these hostilities.

View the full war powers resolution below:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.