Hours after participating in a Senate committee hearing on the use of military force in Syria, Sen. Bob Corker introduced a revised resolution outlining specific details for what a U.S. strike could entail.
Corker, who is ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, brought the revised resolution forward Tuesday evening with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who is committee chairman.
The resolution would authorize President Barack Obama's administration to use force against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for 60 days, with a possible, one-time extension of 30 days if "extraordinary circumstances" prevent goals of a U.S. intervention from being met. The resolution also prohibits the use of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and would require the White House to provide a detailed plan of support for "vetted, moderate" opposition in the country.
In a news release, Corker described the resolution as being "much narrower" than proposals discussed in recent weeks.
"I look forward to the input from my colleagues on the committee and in Congress, who will have an opportunity to weigh in on what we've produced," Corker said. "This is one of the most serious matters that comes before Congress, so as we proceed to a potentially defining vote next week, the president and his administration must continue to vigorously make their case to the American people."
The proposal would allow the president to use force in what he determines to be "necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria." It states that force could only be used in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces, that any action must be done to protect national security interests and U.S. allies in the region, and that action must also "degrade Syria's capacity" for future use of chemical weapons.
According to a Politico report, the fate of the resolution is uncertain. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was described saying he thought the resolution could get support from 45-50 Democrats but was unsure if enough Republican votes could bring it to a 60-vote threshold.
Before bringing the revised proposal forward, Corker participated in a four-hour committee hearing regarding the authorization. The senator and former Chattanooga mayor listened and posed questions to a group of top officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey.
Although Corker said he was "very generally inclined" to support a U.S. strike in Syria, the senator added that the implementation of military action was "very important" to him. Corker said after a recent visit to the region he was "totally dismayed" at a lack of U.S. support for rebels.
"It is to some degree humiliating to be in a refugee camp when our policy has been that we're going to train, equip and give humanitarian aid to the vetted opposition; and when you sit down with the people that we're coalescing around, very little of that has occurred," he said.
The senator also said he saw an answer given by Kerry to a question regarding U.S. boots on the ground as "not very appropriate," causing the secretary to walk back earlier comments. After Corker's prompting, Kerry said that American boots on the ground would not happen "with respect to the civil war," adding that he was "thinking out loud" earlier.
"Let's shut the door now," Kerry said.
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