Collins declined to comment on his vote shortly before Kaine’s announcement, saying he would release a statement soon.
Kaine has been working with those four Republican senators and others in recent days to make changes to the resolution, which he originally launched just one day after Trump approved the attack to kill a senior Iranian military commander in Baghdad. Lee and Paul were the first Republicans to declare their support for the measure, after an administration briefing last week they found frustrating and insulting, noting how officials refused to say when, if ever, they would consult Congress before to launch such a strike, and urging lawmakers to line up behind the president.
But interested Republicans pressured Kaine to make changes to the original legislation, particularly his many references to Trump and his administration’s stance and past statements regarding Iran. These have been removed from the amended draft, which Kaine presented last week, and will be ready for a vote in the room as soon as next week.
But for next week, supporters will compete for floor time with the calendar of political trial, which means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) And Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) have to determine when to carve out of time to vote on the measure.
“We will calculate the moment, we have to discover how it intersects with the accusation, but we believe that this resolution is the right way,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.
The resolution is “privileged,” which means that Republicans who oppose the measure cannot prevent it from voting once it is “mature.” It also means that supporters should only secure a simple Senate majority, 51 votes, so that it can pass.
Kaine said Tuesday that he will continue to work with other Republican senators to increase support for the measure before next week. But it is almost certain that Trump will veto the measure and that Congress will not have the votes to override that veto.
The president’s supporters have fervently opposed the resolutions of the war powers that are being considered in the Senate and in the House, which last week voted 224 to 194 to pass a similar resolution, with the support of three Republicans. However, that measure is not binding, which means that the House may have to take the Senate measure to send it to the president’s desk.
Despite the possibility of a veto, Trump’s deputies and supporters have argued that votes on war powers resolutions send a negative message to the troops, while projecting apparent support for a regime that has sponsored the terrorism that has caused the death of members of the US service. They have also argued that Trump was fully entitled to order the attack, citing the 2002 authorization for the use of military force and the constitutional right of the president to protect military personnel from harmful means.
Democrats have struggled to say they believe the Iranian commander, Qasem Soleimani, was a reprehensible figure, as they and the handful of Republicans who have joined them argue that Trump still cannot trample on Congress’s right to declare the war.
The amended bipartisan resolution of Kaine clearly states that “Congress has the sole power to declare war,” notes that “it has not yet declared war or promulgated a specific legal authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic Republic of Iran “and states that” the United States Armed Forces have been introduced into hostilities, as defined by the War Powers Resolution, against Iran. “
But it recognizes an exception in cases where the United States is “defending itself from an imminent attack.”
Supporters of the resolution of the war powers argue that the administration has not presented evidence to support the claim that Soleimani poses an imminent threat to US troops. Senior officials have argued that the attack on Soleimani was both to prevent an imminent threat and to respond to an earlier attack by an Iran-backed group that killed an American contractor in Iraq.