Senate panel votes to authorize force in Syria

Senate panel votes to authorize force in Syria

Credit: MGN Online

Senate panel votes to authorize force in Syria


by The Associated Press

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 4 at 1:28 PM

Should the U.S. pursue military action in Syria?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate panel has voted to give President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack.

The vote Wednesday was 10-7, with one senator voting present. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The resolution would permit Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn't exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations.

The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, crafted the resolution.

The vote marked the first time lawmakers have voted to authorize military action since the October 2002 votes giving President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

Sen. John McCain says he will support President Barack Obama's request to intervene in Syria if the move would "reverse the situation on the battlefield."

He says he supports giving Obama authority to act against Assad but that he "cannot support something that might be doomed in the long run."

“I commend my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for passing the two amendments that Senator Chris Coons and I introduced, which insist on the need to reverse the battlefield momentum in Syria that now favors Bashar al-Assad," McCain said in a statement released shortly after the panel's vote.

“These amendments are vital to ensuring that any U.S. military operations in Syria are part of a broader strategy to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria. That strategy must degrade the military capabilities of the Assad regime while upgrading the military capabilities of moderate Syrian opposition forces. These amendments would put the Congress on the record that this is the policy of the United States, as President Obama has assured me it is.”

Although the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has now backed Obama, full congressional approval for the use of military force in Syria is far from a done deal.

Three of Arizona's nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives say they're either against or leaning against a resolution requested by President Barack Obama to use force to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against its citizens. Five of the other six House members are on the fence.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema: "I haven't gotten all the information I feel I need to make an informed decision [on Syria]."
Wednesday, Sept. 4 on "Good Morning Arizona"

Obama: Congress, world credibility on line

With Congress deep in debate over support for a military strike on Syria, President Barack Obama left open the possibility Wednesday that he would order retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack even if the House and Senate withhold their approval.

"As commander in chief, I always preserve the right and responsibility to act on behalf of America's national security," a traveling Obama said at a news conference in Sweden. In a challenge to lawmakers back home, he said Congress' credibility was on the line, not his own, despite saying a year ago that the use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line."