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Senate Syria Resolution Would Limit Obama to 90 Days

Sep. 3, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By SUSAN DAVIS   |   Comments
US-SYRIA-CONFLICT-OBAMA
President Obama delivers a statement on Syria during a meeting with members of Congress at the White House on Sept. 3. (Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — Members of the Senate Foreign Relations committee hammered out a deal on Tuesday evening that would set a 60-day deadline for military action in Syria, with one 30-day extension possible, according to a draft of the resolution.

The proposal, drafted by Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would also bar the involvement of US ground forces in Syria, according to the draft. Menendez is the chairman of the foreign relations committee and Corker is the top Republican.

“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,” Menendez said in a statement.

The resolution could be voted on by the committee as early as Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in the House, Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Gerald Connolly, D-Va., introduced a draft resolution that would limit the duration of President Obama’s authority to 60 days.

It also specifically prohibits any American forces on the ground in Syria and restricts the president from repeating the use of force beyond the initial punitive strikes unless Obama certifies to Congress that the Syrian forces have repeated their use of chemical weapons.

Obama has repeatedly said that any military strike against Assad would be limited in scope and duration, and would not include US troops on the ground. The conflict in Syria has left more than 100,000 dead.

Earlier on Tuesday, Obama said he was open to lawmakers rewriting his resolution seeking authorization for the use of force, which was criticized as too broad in scope by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“I would not be going to Congress if I wasn’t serious about consultations,” Obama said. “I’m confident that we’re going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark.”

Menendez and Corker introduced their resolution soon after the foreign relations committee met on Tuesday to grill Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, on the president’s plan for a military strike against Syria.

Obama announced his intention on Saturday to order a strike against the Assad regime, but said that he would first seek congressional authorization.

Davis writes for USA Today. Contributing: Aamer Madhani

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