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Senate to Vote on Amendments Weighing in on Middle East Withdrawal, War Powers

Should the Senate adopt these amendments?

by Countable | 2.4.19

The Senate is set to move forward in its consideration of the bipartisan Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act on Monday when it votes on amendments that’d caution against withdrawing from Syria & Afghanistan if it’d lead to a resurgence of ISIS & al Qaeda and would clarify that the bill isn’t an authorization for the use of military force.

The first vote will be on Amendment 96, offered by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), which would clarify that nothing in the McConnell amendment should be interpreted as a declaration of war or authorization of use of military force under the War Powers Resolution.

The second vote will be on Amendment 65, offered by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), which would express the sense of Congress that:

  • The U.S. and its partners have played a positive role in Syria and Afghanistan by fighting terrorist groups, countering Iranian aggression, deterring further use of chemical weapons, and protecting human rights;
  • A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from the ongoing fight without effective countervailing efforts to secure gains could allow terrorists to regroup and destibilize these regions and create a vacuum which could be filled by Russia or Iran.
  • Diplomatic negotiations to secure peace and reconciliation in Syria and Afghanistan are gaining traction but are fragile;
  • The Trump administration should “pursue a strategy that sets the conditions for the long-term defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS, as well as the protection of regional partners and allies, while ensuring that Iran cannot dominate the region or threaten Israel;” and
  • The administration should certify those conditions for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS are met before any significant U.S. withdrawal.

Last week the Senate cast a bipartisan 68-23 vote to limit debate on the McConnell amendment and the underlying bill saw similar bipartisan support in procedural votes last Monday & Tuesday.

What’s next?

After the Senate votes on the adoption of the amendments it will vote on a cloture motion that, if it receives 60 votes, will limit further debate on the underlying bill to 30 hours before a passage vote is held. That could mean a passage vote occurs Tuesday or Wednesday, although it could be held this evening if there’s unanimous consent to end debate sooner.


— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / AWSeebaran)

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