Newly-elected Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) raised a lot of eyebrows Wednesday afternoon when he voted “present” on a resolution to authorize military strikes in Syria, a position advocated by his predecessor Secretary of State John Kerry, who testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the very same day.
“A `no’ vote would have indicated I had sufficient information on which to base the decision. Which I did not,” Markey explained after the vote, as quoted by the Boston Globe.
“I want to make sure I make an informed, correct vote,” he added. “The people of Massachusetts expect their senators to have analyzed all the facts, and I want to make sure I have all the facts before I cast that vote.”
The committee ultimately passed a revised authorization for military action in Syria, including new language effectively making regime change the goal of the intervention, by a margin of 10 – 7, with Markey voting present.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who also serves on the committee, cited a similar reason for his vote against the resolution, however.
“I really did not get any kind of comfort level that this administration has adequately planned for the reprecussions” of a strike against Syria, Johnson said, as quoted by the Journal Sentinel.
“They may be able to provide me with that comfort over the next couple of days before we take the final vote,” he added. “But right now I simply did not have the information or the answers to the questions I needed to even allow me to consider voting yes on this resolution.”