On Thursday, September 5, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed the Obama Administration’s request to use force in Syria in reaction to that country’s use of chemical weapons.
The vote was Resolution adopted 10-7, with one Senator voting present.
DEMOCRATS – MENENDEZ, Robert (D-NJ, BOXER, Barbara (D-CA), CARDIN, Benjamin L. (D-MD), SHAHEEN, Jeanne (D-NH), COONS, Christopher A. (D-DE), DURBIN, Richard (D-IL), KAINE, Tim (D-VA)
REPUBLICANS: CORKER, Bob (R-TN), FLAKE, Jeff (R-AZ), McCAIN, John (R-AZ))
DEMOCRATS – UDALL, Tom (D-NM), MURPHY, Christopher (D-CT)
REPUBLICANS: RISCH, James E. (R-ID), RUBIO, Marco (R-FL), JOHNSON, Ron (R-WI), BARRASSO, John (R-WY), PAUL, Rand (R-KY)
MARKEY, Edward (D-MA)
The key portions of the resolution:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This joint resolution may be cited as the ‘‘Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons’’.
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) AUTHORIZATION.—The President is authorized, subject to subsection (b), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and specified manner against legitimate military targets in Syria, only to—
(1) respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Government of Syria in the conflict in Syria;
(2) deter Syria’s use of such weapons in order to protect the national security interests of the United States and to protect United States allies and partners against the use of such weapons;
(3) degrade Syria’s capacity to use such weapons in the future; and
(4) prevent the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors within Syria of any weapons of mass destruction.
(b) REQUIREMENT FOR DETERMINATION THAT USE OF MILITARY FORCE IS NECESSARY.—Before exercising the authority granted in subsection (a), the President shall make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the President’s determination that—
(1) the United States has used all appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to prevent the deployment and use of weapons of mass destruction by Syria;
(2) the Government of Syria has conducted one or more significant chemical weapons attacks;
(3) the use of military force is necessary to respond to the use of chemical weapons by the Government of Syria;
(4) it is in the core national security interest of the United States to use such military force;
(5) the United States has a military plan to achieve the specific goals of—
(A) responding to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Government of Syria in the conflict in Syria;
(B) deterring Syria’s use of such weapons in order to protect the national security interests of the United States and to protect United States allies and partners against the use of such weapons;
(C) degrading Syria’s capacity to use such weapons in the future; and
(D) preventing the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors within
Syria of any weapons of mass destruction; and
(6) the use of military force is consistent with and furthers the goals of the United States strategy toward Syria, including achieving a negotiated political settlement to the conflict.
SEC. 4. TERMINATION OF THE AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
The authorization in section 2(a) shall terminate 60 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, except that the President may extend, for a single period of 30 days, such authorization if—
(1) the President determines and certifies to Congress, not later than 5 days before the date of termination of the initial authorization, that the extension is necessary to fulfill the purposes of this resolution as defined by section 2(a) due to extraordinary circumstances and for ongoing and impending military operations against Syria under section
(2) Congress does not enact into law, before the extension of authorization, a joint resolution disapproving the extension of the authorization for the additional 30-day period; provided that any such joint resolution shall be considered under the expedited procedures otherwise provided for concurrent resolutions of disapproval contained in section 7 of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1546).
SEC. 5. STATEMENT OF POLICY.
(a) CHANGING OF MOMENTUM ON BATTLEFIELD.—
It is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria so as to create favorable conditions for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria.
(b) DEGRADATION OF ABILITY OF REGIME TO USE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.—
A comprehensive United States strategy in Syria should aim, as part of a coordinated international effort, to degrade the capabilities of the Assad regime to use weapons of mass destruction while upgrading the lethal and non-lethal military capabilities of vetted elements of Syrian opposition forces, including the Free Syrian Army.