McConnell Open to Voting on Amendment on Iran War Authorization

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he was willing to vote on a rather controversial amendment that would give Congress the authority to authorize military action against Iran.

McConnell indicated that he was prepared to vote on the amendment sponsored by Senators Tim Kaine and Tom Udall, which would require that all funding for military action on Iran get the approval from Congress first. GOP Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee have likewise voiced support of the proposed bipartisan amendment.

Prior to McConnell’s announcement, Democrats had concerns that he could try to bypass debate on Iran by voting as soon as Wednesday to cut off debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), The Hill writes, but their worries were gone once McConnell signaled his willingness to vote on it.

“We’re not opposed to having the vote and we’re working on having that vote, passing NDAA and doing the supplemental [border spending bill], all this week,” he said.

McConnell, nonetheless, urged his colleagues to vote against the amendment, saying that it was bad for the U.S. to appear divided over the issue in the eyes of the Iranians. “So, my hope is that it will be defeated. We’ll find out by how much of a margin but we hope to defeat it,” he stressed.

McConnell also said that at the moment no one was advocating for war with Iran, so a war authorization was not “not required under this set of circumstances.”

The move was met with praise by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said it was “heartening news.”

“We should sit down and work out an agreement to have this amendment. It will be voted yes or no, I don’t know the answer to that. And then we pass the NDAA. That’s the way to go, that’s the way our caucus feels,” he noted.

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