Senate advances resolution limiting Trump's ability to wage war

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Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft deployed from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, taxi before taking off at RAF Fairford, England, Oct. 23, 2019 (Air Force photo / Staff Sgt. Philip Bryant)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate advanced legislation on Wednesday intended to limit President Donald Trump's ability to wage war against Iran, paving the way for a final vote as eight Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the war powers resolution.

The resolution would require Trump to remove U.S. troops engaged in hostilities against Iran unless Congress declares war or passes a specific authorization for the use of military force.

The vote was 51-45 on a motion to proceed to a final vote, expected on Wednesday or on Thursday. Republican opponents, including Trump, said passage would send the wrong message to Tehran.


"It is very important for our Country's SECURITY that the United States Senate not vote for the Iran War Powers Resolution. We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness," Trump said on Twitter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the resolution abused the War Powers Act because that law was intended to prevent the deployment of thousands of troops into sustained combat without congressional authorization.

Supporters disagreed.

"We don't send a message of weakness when we stand up for the rule of law," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, a lead sponsor of the measure, told a news conference with Republicans Mike Lee and Susan Collins and Democrat Richard Durbin.

"That's a message of strength and it especially speaks to people around the world who are in the streets protesting... because they want the rule of law," Kaine said.

Calling himself a "huge fan" of Trump's foreign policy, Lee said the resolution supported Trump's goal of limiting military action. "This should not be controversial," Lee said.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a similar resolution last month, as Democrats and some Republicans fumed over Trump's failure to fully inform them about his Iran strategy.

Trump last month ordered a drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani at the airport in Baghdad, but did not inform Congress until afterward.

Fears that the country was on the brink of war with Iran added new fuel to an ongoing effort by members of both parties to take back the power to declare war from the White House.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war.

Despite bipartisan backing, the resolution is unlikely to garner enough support from members of Trump's party to overcome a veto if it does reach his desk.

Army recruiters hold a swearing-in ceremony for over 40 of Arkansas' Future Soldiers at the Arkansas State Capital Building. (U.S. Army/Amber Osei)

Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.

Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.

"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.

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A U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk crew chief with the New Jersey National Guard's 1-171st General Support Aviation Battalion stands for a portrait at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Feb. 3, 2020 (Air National Guard photo / Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.

Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.

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In this June 16, 2018 photo, Taliban fighters greet residents in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.

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A screen grab from a YouTube video shows Marines being arrested during formation at Camp Pendleton in July, 2019. (Screen capture)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.

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A soldier reunites with his daughter at Fort Bragg, N.C. after returning from the Middle East. The 82nd Airborne Division's Immediate Response Force had been deployed since New Years Eve. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Army via Associated Press)

Some Fort Bragg paratroopers who left for the Middle East on a no-notice deployment last month came home Thursday.

About 3,500 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team were sent to Kuwait beginning Jan. 1 as tensions were rising in the region. The first soldiers were in the air within 18 hours of being told to go.

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