Members of Congress Mull President’s Syria Request
Members of Congress, who returned this week from their August recess, hoped that they would have a relatively quiet September session before returning to their districts to focus on campaigning. However, confronting the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group, known variously as IS, ISIS, or ISIL, has made their session more significant than expected. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama requested congressional authorization to train and equip forces opposed to the regime in Syria, where ISIS is located. Many Members of Congress—some in each party—are skeptical of the request, since they fear American weapons could fall into the wrong hands. Another question congressional leaders are facing is what legislative vehicle they should use to provide authorization. President Obama’s administration has been pushing for the Congress to attach a measure to a continuing resolution (CR) that will temporarily fund the government. A number of Members of Congress hope that they can vote on the measures separately. For instance, according to Politico, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said, “I don’t really support the CR. So this is going to be in that, so it’s not a way of really weighing in on policy that I do support.” On the other side of the issue, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “I would hope it [the Syrian opposition authorization] would be in the CR, because that’s the train leaving the station”.
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