Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 2, 2015

Senate’s Syria Resolution Sets Time Limits, Won’t Authorize Ground Troops (Updated)

Updated 9:10 p.m. | Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders have reached an agreement on the language for the resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria for up to 90 days — but with no “boots on the ground.”

“Sharing President Obama’s view that our nation is best served when we come together as one, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has crafted a bipartisan Authorization for the Use of Military Force that we believe reflects the will and concerns of Democrats and Republicans alike,” Chairman Robert Menendez said Tuesday in a statement. “Together we have pursued a course of action that gives the President the authority he needs to deploy force in response to the Assad regime’s criminal use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, while assuring that the authorization is narrow and focused, limited in time, and assures that the Armed Forces of the United States will not be deployed for combat operations in Syria.”

The New Jersey Democrat scheduled a markup for Wednesday. Earlier Tuesday, Menendez noted that the new resolution would not permit American boots on the ground.

As drafted, the language worked out between Menendez and ranking member Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would authorize the use of force for 60 days, with provisions making it possible that the authorization would be extended for 30 days after that, according to Senate sources.

While the Senate has authorization language to debate, that’s not yet the case in the House.

With the House and Senate expected to set deadlines for authorization votes by the end of next week, House leaders wouldn’t have much time to draft and approve their own rewrites, especially given the diverse and often free-wheeling membership of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that could result in a marathon markup should that panel be given jurisdiction over the matter.

Following a lengthy Senate hearing on the request to use force against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Corker told reporters that House leaders had not yet been brought into conversations about drafting the resolution on the Senate side.

“With the time frame that we’re looking at, it would be very difficult to be bringing in a lot of outside parties,” Corker said. “They’re going to have to address it in their own way.”

A senior House Democratic aide told CQ Roll Call that, throughout Tuesday, members of House leadership on both sides of the aisle had raised questions about what the implications would be if the clock ran out and the only viable resolution text came from the Senate. That aide suggested that many lawmakers thought being forced to take the Senate draft it could be a logistical blessing, averting the potential for an ugly partisan fight.

Speaker John A. Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, offered little insight other than to say, “The House certainly agrees with the Senate that the White House draft is inadequate.”

A House Republican leadership aide, however, seemed to quell speculation that the House GOP would be willing to forgo offering any input, saying, “House Republicans will vote on a resolution once we sufficiently feel it represents the will of our chamber and that will require significant input from our chairmen and members.”

When Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the Senate on Tuesday that he didn’t “want to take off the table” the possibility of American boots on the ground in Syria, the response underscored the difficulty in crafting acceptable legislative language.

Social media erupted when Kerry made the comment in response to a question from Menendez that under some hypothetical situations U.S. forces might end up deployed “in the event Syria imploded, for instance.”

After Corker and Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland each signaled an unease with Kerry’s remarks on that subject, Kerry clarified, saying that he would shut the door to that as part of the authorization now under debate.

Cardin noted the breadth of the original draft that was sent to Capitol Hill on Aug. 31, adding that Obama could always return to seek an expanded authorization.

“The president as commander-in-chief has the authority — the inherent authority — to act in urgent situations when time requires that action,” Cardin said. “I just [want] to urge you in the strongest possible terms to work with our leadership to draft a resolution that is as tight as we can make it to allow you to carry out the mission that you have defined here today.”

“I don’t want anybody misinterpreting this from earlier: This authorization does not contemplate, and should not have any allowance for any troop on the ground, I just want to make that absolutely clear,” Kerry said. “What I was doing was hypothesizing about a potential that might occur at some point in this time, but not in authorization.”

“There’s no problem in our having the language that has zero capacity for American troops on the ground within the authorization the president is asking for. I don’t want anybody in the media or elsewhere to misinterpret that,” Kerry added.

Kerry found himself facing questions about the scope of the authorization in no small part because the original draft was overly broad. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., was among those raising questions about why the legislative proposal was drafted in that fashion, asking specifically why the draft seems to conflict with numerous public statements by Kerry and others in the Obama administration.

The way the exchange with Udall developed, Kerry did not have an opportunity to answer that question.

  • onecause

    So they say no boots on the ground . Now the enemy will force them to prove that red lie as well
    Foolish to say, we go to war only a little bit , the enemy will not say the same thing .

  • Dean Jackson

    Have you noticed that Washington, DC refuses to wage illegal wars against China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Burma, all nations that persecute their populations in one way or another. Only Muslim nations are invaded. Why would that be? Why is the United States funding the so-called “Arab Spring” movements, but not “Communist Spring” movements in China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Burma (Burma is also a Communist nation; in fact, the fake dissident Aung San Suu Kyi’s father founded the Burmese Communist Party in 1939, becoming its first General Secretary, which is why Aung San Suu Kyi keeps her silence as Burmese Muslims are being slaughtered. Didn’t know those facts, huh?)?

    Notice too how the Republican Party House leadership (Boehner and Cantor) have come out to inexplicably (again) support Obama’s strange “War on Islam”? This time on Syria. Why would that be? And why are both political parties supporting “rebels” who, when they take power, immediately start persecuting Christians?

    Here’s the answer for those of you who’ve been asleep…

    Firstly, here’s a quote oftentimes attributed to Nikita Kruschev:

    “We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism, until they suddenly awake to find they have communism.”

    Well, take a look at the following, and you’ll be shocked (if Nikita Kruschev didn’t utter the quote above, we know he and his comrades would have known it to be true)…

    Google: ‘Photos: Antonov An-12BK-PPS Aircraft Pictures | Airliners net’


    Google: ‘MiG-23UB Share this photo on forums’

    Then for Russian Naval vessels (take a look at what’s still appended to the bows)…

    Google (enlarge picture): ‘Russia seeks sea power with decrepit fleet Base expansion likely an empty threat’

    Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2011 and 2001, respectively, not before the “collapse” of the USSR. As you can see, the Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party…the Red Star… is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the “collapse” of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Red Star emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.

    Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…

    Google: ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’

    “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head!

    It is Moscow and allies who’ve been tasking Washington, DC’s inexplicable foreign policy since before and after 9/11 (including the 9/11 operation itself). Why? To create enmity between Islam and the West, because while the USSR feigns its “collapse”, it is forced to operate in a more or less “liberalized”, and therefore weakened, fashion. Soon too the Chinese Communist government will follow the USSR and fake its collapse.

    You see, before the USSR could implement its fraudulent collapse Western political parties had to be co-opted. And after the “collapse”, Moscow & allies had to ensure enmity between Islam and the West, for fear that Muslim elements within the “former” USSR, with the support of the non-co-opted Western military establishments, would rise up and overthrow their Communist oppressors.

    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    Now you know why the hated Communist Red Star is still placed on the bows of NEW Russian Naval vessels (and the wings of Russian military aircraft), and why the “electorates” of the 15 republics that made up the USSR continue to “elect” for President Soviet era Communist Party Quislings. There have been 52 such Presidential “elections” since the “collapse” of the USSR, resulting in 40 Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings being elected. That’s 76.92%! If the “collapse” of the USSR were legitimate not one such Quisling would have been elected President. In fact, such persons would have been either arrested in the interests of national security or shunned by society. Remember, Communist Party members made up no more than 10% of the USSR, and it was they who for 74 years persecuted the remaining 90% of the population.

    Now you also know why immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR the United States wasn’t given Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, including delivery vehicles, for safe keeping! Imagine that, the freed Russian people not ensuring their freedom against a Communist counter-coup with the assistance of Chinese PLA ground and air forces backing up Soviet Special Forces and Airborne Guards. If the “collapse” of the USSR had been real, then a freed Russia, for national security reasons, would have ensured that its nuclear weaponry was secured by United States military elements. That no such actions were taken proves that (1) both American political parties were co-opted by Moscow & Allies; and (2) the United States Armed Forces were not co-opted, otherwise elements of America’s armed forces would have been deployed to Russia in order to pretend to safeguard Russia’s nuclear weapons.

    In addition, the KGB agent Quislings that controlled the Russian Orthodox Church before the “collapse” of the USSR are to this day still in control! They were never identified and thrown out of that institution after the “collapse” of the USSR! The same is true for the other 14 republics of the USSR, including East Bloc nations.

    Regarding the “War on Terror”, Moscow and Beijing tasked the American operation to ensure that while the USSR was in a “liberalized” and therefore weakened state, such a war would (1) create enmity between Islam and the West; thereby (2) aborting any possibility for an alliance between Islam and the West against their mutual and true enemy…World Communism; and (3) create the image that the United States is a rogue state, invading/attacking nations with impunity, thereby setting the stage for a future “democratic” China replacing United States preeminence on the world stage.

    For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991. The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland.

    Pass this critical news on to others; few Americans know it outside of official Washington, DC circles.

  • docmerlin

    Another stupid attack on another stupid nation.

  • Mike55_Mahoney

    Congress cannot, by legislation or resolution discharge the responsibilities of Commander in Chief. This is an unconstitutional usurpation of executive power. I will not be swayed by the senate ploy to make me think they have this power in order to convince me they can leash or bring to heel the dogs of war, once they release them.

  • Arch

    If the mission is to destroy or degrade Assad’s chem warfare capability, boots on the ground are essential. If we recognize the need to deny Assad use of these weapons, ground troops are required.

    Suppose we know exactly where Assad is storing a ton of VX munitions. If we target the building or bunker with a Tomahawk or a JDAM, it’s going to blow the agent 2,000 to 3,000 feet up in the atmosphere. Anyone within a few thousand feet or several miles downwind will need atropine, decontamination and medical treatment. While the intention is good, the consequences are awful.

    Disposing of nerve agents is an industrial rather than a military activity. In my opinion, this is a very bad idea.

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