It didn’t take the Senate long to reach an agreement on striking Syria. One might think their minds were already made up before hearings began, at least the hawks like John McCain who kept himself occupied by playing games on his phone.
Key senators struck a deal Tuesday night on a resolution granting President Obama the authority to conduct military strikes in Syria as long as they happen within 90 days and are limited to enforcing the administration’s “red line” prohibiting chemical weapons use.
Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, and ranking Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee wrote bipartisan language that they said imposed extra limits on the president and didn’t give him an open-ended grant of powers, but would afford him the leeway to conduct airstrikes to degrade Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities.
The agreement requires the president to certify that he has exhausted all diplomatic channels and gives Mr. Obama 60 days to act, with one 30-day extension. It also orders him to come up with a plan to try to push Syria’s warring parties into a final negotiated settlement.
One part of the agreement even presses the administration to devise a strategy for arming moderate rebels to strengthen them in their battle against Mr. Assad. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have accused the Obama administration of being too reticent to take that step.
Mr. Menendez scheduled a committee vote for Wednesday, marking the first step in what is likely to be a tough path to getting a final authorization through both chambers of Congress and back to Mr. Obama. (Read More)
I wonder how they are going to define “moderate” when it comes to the rebels.
The agreement also prohibits having American troops on the ground in Syria, but John Kerry already said boots on the ground is a possibility. Gee, it’s like the Senate hearing was all for show. Not that the people at MSNBC mind, suddenly that’s become the war channel.