House Vote on Syria Expected Wednesday

Reps. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas., and Buck McKeon, R-Calif., listen during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, on June 11, 2014.

Susan Walsh/AP

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Reps. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas., and Buck McKeon, R-Calif., listen during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, on June 11, 2014.

Lawmakers in the House say they'll vote on authorization to train Syrian rebels along with a spending bill and 2 separate amendments just in time for pre-election recess. By Billy House

House Republican leaders have decided to allow a separate vote on President Obama’s request to arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the vote will likely take place Wednesday.

Leaders had earlier considered incorporating the Syria authorization language into a must-pass spending bill to keep government funded beyond Oct. 1—and passing that package all in a single vote.

But some Republicans—and even some antiwar Democrats—have been demanding that a separate vote on Syria be permitted. If the amendment passes, it would then be voted on in a final version of the overall spending bill.

The House Rules Committee set a hearing on Monday night to consider the spending bill—and the Syria authorization and two other amendments—and to set floor voting procedures.

The Syria amendment is sponsored by House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon. 

The text of the amendment underscores that it should not be construed as constituting “a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.”

But the amendment reads, in part, that it “authorizes the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals.”

Additionally, the measure is billed as strengthening congressional oversight “by requiring detailed reports, including progress reports, on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment.”

It would also require the president “to report on how this authority fits within a larger regional strategy.”

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