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    Senate fails to limit Trump war powers amid Iran tensions

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Political unease over the White House’s tough talk against Iran is reviving questions about President Donald Trump’s ability to order military strikes without approval from Congress.

    The Senate fell short on Friday, in a 50-40 vote, on an amendment to a sweeping Defence bill that would require congressional support before Trump acts. It didn’t reach the 60-vote threshold needed for passage. But lawmakers said the majority showing sent a strong message that Trump cannot continue relying on the nearly two-decade-old war authorisations Congress approved in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks. The House is expected to take up the issue next month.

    “A congressional vote is a pretty good signal of what our constituents are telling us – that another war in the Middle East would be a disaster right now, we don’t want the president to just do it on a whim,” said Senator Tim Kaine, a co-author of the measure with Senator Tom Udall.

    “My gut tells me that the White House is realising this is deeply unpopular with the American public.”

    The effort in the Senate signals discomfort with Trump’s approach to foreign policy. Four Republicans joined most Democrats in supporting the amendment, but it faces steep resistance from the White House and the Pentagon wrote a letter opposing it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it nothing more than another example of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” which he explained as whatever the president’s for “they seem to be against.”

    McConnell said putting restrictions on the White House would “hamstring” the president’s ability to respond militarily at a time of escalating tension between the US and Iran.

    “They have gratuitously chosen to make him the enemy,” McConnell said. “Rather than work with the president to deter our actual enemy, they have chosen to make him the enemy.”

    Trump’s approach to the standoff with Iran and his assertion earlier this week that he doesn’t need congressional approval to engage militarily has only sparked fresh questions and hardened views in Congress.

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