WASHINGTON (WGGB/AP) — A Senate panel has voted to give President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack.
The vote Wednesday was 10-7, with one senator – Sen. Edward Markey of Mass. – 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.
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.
Wednesday afternoon, Markey released a statement on his decision to vote “present”, saying in part that “Before casting such a monumental vote, I need to review all of the relevant classified materials relating to this matter before I make a decision as important as authorizing the use of military force. The people of Massachusetts expect their representatives to have analyzed all of the facts prior to making a decision of this magnitude.”
Markey also called the use of chemical weapons “a heinous and despicable act that is outside the bounds of civilized conduct” as well as expressed concern over the “unintended consequences” of a military attack and the language of the current resolution passed in committee Wednesday.
“The current version of the resolution goes beyond the President’s objective of responding to the use of chemical weapons to call for a broader U.S. political and military strategy in Syria that includes expanded support for various opposition groups, efforts to limit support for the Syrian regime from the Government of Iran and activities to isolate terrorist groups in Syria,” Markey explains.
Markey concludes by saying that he will “further examine the classified intelligence information” over the coming days and “consult with experts” before he decides how he will vote when the resolution is brought to the full Senate.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.