Susan Collins of Maine will join at least three other Republican senators in supporting a war powers resolution designed to rein in President Donald Trump’s ability to conduct offensive military operations in Iran without consulting Congress.
The resolution, introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, already had the support of Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats. Collins said last week she had met with Kaine to discuss the specifics of the resolution, which emerged amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran after Trump ordered a striking killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani this month.
In her statement Tuesday, Collins — who has said U.S. intelligence she read indicates that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack on U.S. interests at the time of his death — called the Iranian general a “ruthless enemy of America” and emphasized that the resolution would not limit the president’s ability to respond to emergency situations.
She said the resolution — after amendments — “simply makes clear that only the Legislative Branch may declare war or commit our armed forces to a sustained military conflict with Iran.”
The wording of the resolution was changed from Kaine’s initial version to call for the “termination” of the use of U.S. forces for hostilities against Iran rather than the “removal” of U.S. forces from hostilities with Iran.
“The Kaine resolution would continue to allow the President to respond to emergencies created by aggression from any hostile nation, including Iran, and to repel an imminent attack by Iran or its proxy forces,” Collins said. “It also does not alter the President’s inherent authority as Commander in Chief to defend our nation and U.S. forces abroad.
Collins joins fellow Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana in supporting the resolution. Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are also reportedly considering backing it. It is likely to be vetoed by Trump.
Maine’s senior senator had been noncommittal about the resolution until Tuesday, though she was also one of four Republican senators who supported blocking funding for military hostilities with Iran last summer. A similar resolution passed the House last week with support from Maine’s Democratic representatives, Chellie Pingree of the 1st District and Jared Golden of the 2nd District.