Following President Barack Obama's weekend decision to seek authorization for a strike on Syria from Congress, Sen. Bob Corker said he anticipates "vigorous debate" in a pair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings scheduled on the topic this week.
Corker, who is the ranking Republican on the committee, is scheduled to participate in a hearing today at 2:30 p.m., along with a classified hearing of the group on Wednesday morning. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey will appear before the group.
In a news release Monday, the senator and former Chattanooga mayor said he hoped the hearings would yield clear information and answers for an American public divided on the issue.
"The American people deserve to hear from the administration about why military action in Syria is necessary, what it will achieve and how it will be sufficiently limited to keep the U.S. from being drawn further into the Syrian conflict," Corker said. "Now that the president has decided to use force and seek authorization, he must immediately use every resource appropriate in making his case to the public before this potentially defining vote in Congress."
Corker also appeared on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" Monday evening. The senator said that although he remained "open to a surgical, proportional strike," he would be looking for additional details on goals and long-term plans for a possible intervention in Syria. The senator added that he did not want to see any action alter an already-established U.S. policy of supporting vetted, moderate rebel groups—despite still-dragging efforts to provide lethal aid to the groups by the administration.
"I was in the region two and half weeks ago, and I was totally embarrassed and dismayed that not a single shipment of arms has made its way [to] the vetted opposition," Corker said.
The senator added that if a resolution to authorize action in Syria doesn't clear Congress, he could imagine a situation where Obama would not give the green light for a military strike on the country.
"If it's not authorized by Congress, I have no idea what will happen, except I would imagine he would not take action," he said.
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