US Senate panel votes for strike on Syria

US Senate panel votes for strike on Syria
Thu Sep 5, 2013 09:43:30

A Senate panel has voted to give US President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against Syria in response to an alleged use of chemical weapons.

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.

Obama's request for speedy congressional backing of a military strike in Syria advanced in the Senate on Wednesday, hours after the president left open the possibility he would order retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack even if Congress withheld its approval.

The president was in Sweden after a day of diplomacy when the vote occurred. At a news conference earlier, he said, "I always preserve the right and responsibility to act on behalf of America's national security.'' 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.''

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.


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