Sen. Alexander Throws Lot in With Democrats to Try to Block President Trump’s War Powers to Respond to Attacks by Iran


U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) threw his lot in with his Democrat colleagues Thursday to try to block President Donald Trump from using his war powers authority to handle attacks by Iran without begging for congressional approval first.

With a final tally of  55-45, the Senate approved the resolution. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who joined Alexander in defecting, said Congress should be involved in such decisions.

Collins, and Alexander – who took time out to film a video about the coronavirus – were among eight Republicans who voted against Trump.

On Wednesday, Alexander also was one of eight Republicans who joined with Democrats to begin debating on a resolution of “hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly authorized” by Congress, according to a story by Roll Call. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is the sponsor.

The vote tally on Wednesday was 51 yes, 45 no, 4 not voting. Each senator’s vote is available at the link from the Senate website.

According to Roll Call:

Kaine’s resolution is privileged under the 1973 War Powers Act, which means he is able to force a debate and vote on it with only a majority of votes, rather than the more common 60-vote threshold for legislative measures.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) is the sponsor of the resolution in the House.

Even if the House approves the measure, it is expected that Trump would veto it. Democrats lack the two-thirds votes necessary in both chambers to overturn a veto.

Alexander joined with Democrats in rebuking the Commander-in-Chief for killing Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, whom Trump said planned to blow up the American embassy in Baghdad.

Trump said on Twitter, “If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party. Don’t let it happen!”

Another Senator to vote with the Democrats was Utah Republican Mike Lee, who took to the airwaves to defend his “yes” vote, saying that the Resolution deals only with “offensive” actions, and would not apply to “defensive” actions.

“We as a Congress need to reclaim the power to declare war,” Lee said in an interview with Fox News’ Dana Perino shortly after the vote.

He added:

Over the course of many decades we have seen Congress essentially forfeiting its authority to declare war, and waiting for presidents to act. We believe that it’s more appropriate that whenever we’re going to put U.S. lives on the line, we think that Congress needs to authorize that in the form of a Declaration of War.

This is a precedent that stretches all the way back to George Washington when Americans were attacked by the Miami and Wabash Indians, and President Washington identified the difference between a defensive response and an offensive attack. The latter requires Congressional authorization – that’s all we’re requiring here.

Lee was asked point-blank if the targeting of Iranian General Soleimani was an “offensive” attack or “defensive” response, and he answered: “It was defensive.”


However, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – who supported Trump in the vote – told The New York Times, “If this passes, the president will never abide by it — no president would. I want the Iranians to understand, when it comes to their provocative behavior, all options are on the table.”

The vote was the latest by Congress over the past year to control Trump’s war powers. Last year, Congress attempted to use the War Powers Act to stop military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war, The Times said.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.









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12 Thoughts to “Sen. Alexander Throws Lot in With Democrats to Try to Block President Trump’s War Powers to Respond to Attacks by Iran”

  1. Michael Underhill

    Senator Alexander is a complete IDIOT. He needs to step down.

  2. John..

    What a bunch of traitors to the American citizens..We have a bunch of Senators who align themselves with our enemies..That is treasonous without a doubt..

  3. Pamela Slone

    Anything presented by Ilham Omar (MN) has to be bad. She needs to be charged for all her crimes and she needs to jailed for all the fraud things she has done like Marrying her own brother so he could become a United States Citizen. Her whole Family need to be sent back to Somolia . Even her last name Omar is stolen. Yea real nice person. The Republicans that voted yes need to be replaced with Republicans that Will stick with their own Party. Republicans need to be united totally. Good bye Mitt, Lee, Collins, Alexander plus the rest of the Republicans that went with the Democrate.

  4. Pissed Off Nashvillian

    The Dems and never-Trumpers ,like Lamar, didn’t give a rat’s ass when Obama did it.

  5. Joeblitzft

    The sooner Alexander is gone the better.

  6. William Delzell

    I guess you conservatives no longer believe in Congressional oversight on all matters pertaining to military/foreign policy. I’m glad that Alexander for once decided to side with the Democrats on this issue. You conservatives’ opposition to Congressional oversight must have the late Senator Robert A. Taft turning in his grave. His definition of conservatism was quite different than yours. White people in the U.S. somehow think they have the right to push Third World countries around.

    1. Habu

      “White people in the U.S.” ……really? What a disturbing comment!

    2. Ed

      This vote had nothing to do with Congressional oversight. It was another petulant exercise against the President and Americans see it for what it is. Small wonder Congress
      is viewed with a low favor. Injecting a racial component for affect has no affect or merit and is nothing more than trying to sell a worn out guilt trip which,Americans are not buying.

    3. Wolf Woman

      @William Delzell. I agree that the country shouldn’t go to war without the consent of our citizens. Otherwise we will not have the will to fight it, which means we stand a good chance of losing.

      However, like a true believer mindlessly repeating the leftist program, you had to play the race card. Do you really think we would go to war with another country because of their race? Seriously?

      But since you brought it up, it’s time for a hard look at why third world countries are third world. Many have massive man power which hasn’t been educated or trained (why?), extensive natural resources like oil and minerals (Mexico and Venezuela) and governments that are ruled by socialists, drunk on power, who deny individuals their freedoms and due process under the law (Tanzania).

      Third world problems are due to a lack of consciousness and will. How do you propose to change that? Throw tax dollars in greater amounts at them? How has that worked so far?

    4. There you go playing the race card it’s people like you that cause the diversion I have black neighbors that live across the street black used for identification only they are wonderful people and great friends they hate this diversion as bad as I do people like you or what caused it

    5. Deplorable Bay Stater

      I guess I must have missed something when I read the Constitution. Please tell me where in the Constitution I can find the article that gives Congress the power to “oversee” the Executive branch. And I’m not talking about the power to declare war — there’s no question about Congress having that power, and I would agree that we should be more rigorous about how we get involved in wars. But that’s not what this is about — it’s about Democrats in Congress trying to tie President Trump’s hands and prevent him from doing the very things they applauded Obama and Clinton for doing — not because they seriously think Presidents shouldn’t have such powers, but only because of their hatred for President Trump. This is just another example of Trump Hatred Derangement Syndrome.

      I can’t find anything in the Constitution that gives any branch “oversight” power over any other branch, and, after reading all the Federalist papers, I’m convinced that the authors of the Constitution intended the three branches to be separate and equal, and that any “oversight” power rested with the people, and only with the people (i.e., through the electoral process).

  7. Silence Dogood

    Soon to be gone, Senator Alexander. Lamar is being forced to retire by his constituents (it is actually called being fired, isn’t it Boob Corker?) and DJT will still be in office. Like Corker and Gore you end your career in shame. Like a bad toothache you will be remembered but not missed. Buh bye, Lamar.