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Senate Panel Will Vote on Syria Measure This Week

Sep. 4, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By JOHN T. BENNETT   |   Comments
The Group Of Senators Dubbed The Gang Of 8 Hold Ne
US Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be discussing in its Wednesday session when this week it will vote on a resolution authorizing military strikes on Syria. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez said on Wednesday that the panel will vote on a resolution authorizing military strikes on Syria this week.

The New Jersey Democrat told reporters he believes a use-of-force measure he crafted with the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, “strikes the right balance” and meets senators’ concerns.

He said it “narrows” the original resolution submitted to Congress Saturday by the White House, while still giving US President Barack Obama his desired approval to launch “limited” strikes to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons in a deadly Aug. 21 attack.

As he entered a classified briefing on Syria, Menendez said that among the topics the panel will discuss is when to vote.

“One of the things we’ll talk to senators about is process,” Menendez said, adding he wants panel members to “feel comfortable” with the measure’s language.

Asked if the committee will hold a final vote during a late-morning open session, Menendez replied: “If not today, by the end of this week.”

Moments earlier, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Defense News he opposes the Menendez-Corker resolution as written.

Specifically, McCain pointed to its lack of language about trying to change the battlefield of Syria’s bloody civil war.

“And there’s nothing in it regarding the Free Syrian Army,” McCain said.

Menendez told Defense News such concerns should be addressed by the resolution’s mandate that Obama craft for lawmakers “a broader plan” for Syria. ■

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