Senate committee votes for resolution authorizing use of force in Syria

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution authorizing the United States to use limited military force in Syria.

President Barack Obama requested authorization to take action against Syria after the Syrian regime allegedly used chemical weapons to attack the opposition. Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States now has evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that chemical weapons were used, saying Wednesday that there is “proof” of 11 such attacks.

Ten senators voted in favor the resolution: Seven Democrats — Chairman Bob Menendez, Sens. Barbara Boxer, Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Kaine, Ben Cardin, Chris Coons and Dick Durbin; and three Republicans — Sens. Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain.

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, John Barrasso and James Risch voted against the resolution, and were joined by Democratic Sens. Tom Udall and Chris Murphy.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts — who took the seat of former committee Chairman John Kerry when he became Secretary of State — voted “present.”

The committee altered the resolution initially put forward by Obama, saying it was too broad. The new resolution prohibits American “boots on the ground” in Syria, and authorizes strikes against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for up to 60 days, with the possibility of a 30 day extension after that pending consultation with congress.

It also specifies that action by the United States is intended not only to “degrade” al-Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons, but also to help “change the momentum” of the Syrian civil war in favor of the opposition.

The resolution will now go to the full Senate floor for a vote.

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