Syria Resolution Hits Turbulence In Senate

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
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Updated at 12:48 p.m. ET

The Senate resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria ran into unexpected trouble Wednesday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The committee was scheduled to mark-up of a new version of the resolution at 11:30 a.m. ET, but disagreements over the precise language led to an extended closed door meeting of the committee. The markup has now been rescheduled for 2 p.m. ET.

The committee met behind closed doors for much of the morning. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the ranking member, emerged about 12:30 p.m. ET and told reporters that the committee would reconvene in an hour and that consensus would be reached by the end of the day. Senators will be filing amendments to the proposed resolution in the next hour, Corker said. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is expected to file an amendment, according to Corker. 

McCain is pushing for language calling for a reversal of the situation on the ground, where the Assad regime is generally considered to be prevailing against the armed opposition. “Without that, there is no policy,” McCain told reporters after the meeting ended.

“I believe we’ll get there,” Menendez assured reporters. 

Earlier, asked about reports that the mark-up had been canceled, a Senate Democratic aide told TPM that it was not. The aide said that the committee was still meeting privately after a classified hearing Wednesday morning with Secretary of State John Kerry. Another Senate aide told TPM that the committee was still discussing language for the resolution and how to proceed.

Sen. James Risch (R-ID) told reporters he thinks the committee will still markup and vote on the resolution Wednesday. 

“I think there’s a consensus that we’re ready to mark up,” Corker said as the meeting ended.

The unexpected delays comes after a morning in which McCain said he would not support the new resolution and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said that the mark-up vote could be delayed. 

The new resolution, drafted Tuesday by Menendez and Corker, was intended to be narrower and more limited than the draft produced by the White House over the weekend. The full text of the new proposed resolution is here.  

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