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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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(81)
  • Hans
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    War powers should reside in Congress as designated by the Constitution. The ability of a sitting president to declare war and end of hostilities without consulting Congress should be removed unlessthere is a grave and immediate threat to the US proper.

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  • Ronald
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Our Constitution grants a lot of executive power to our President. Your dislike of Trump, and or his policies are no reason to limit him, and future Presidents. Work With President Trump. We elected you, and him to work together for USA.

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  • John
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Here is another 'bipartisan' move by Congress on matters concerning US interests indirectly; President Trump has asked Congress to provide funds for a border wall. This is an issue directly affecting our country. This is outrageous.

    Like (1)
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  • RickP23
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Reel Trump in, limit his powers. Stop Trump from his misguided, uninformed decisions.

    Like (14)
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  • W0Iv3rln3
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Too many factors in one misleading bill. Nope!

    Like (11)
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  • Thomas
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    It is clear from his public comments that the president couldn’t be bothered to read the 40 page critical threats assessment, which is posted online and available to all American citizens. Yet he asserts that he “knows more than the generals“. That cavalier intellectual sloppiness the lies the president‘s assertion that he has any right or reason to hold his opinion on foreign affairs in anyway superior to the carefully researched position of the intelligence services. While I often disagree with the Senate majority leader, in this case he appears to be correct.

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  • Catherine
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    It is very important that Donald Trump understand that he is not the one who is allowed to declare war. That is the purview of Congress. You need to hire and appoint a teacher to teach Trump what the actual responsibilities of the president are and what the limits are to his responsibilities and Powers.

    Like (7)
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  • PhilAlban
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    We do not belong in the "middle east" - interfering with the foreign and sovereign governments there. Whether or not there are troops, Congress has repeatedly approved military spending in this regard. Bombing, airstrikes and drone strikes are also military actions and have done nothing to improve the lives of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans nor Yemenis. We need immediate withdrawal of troops, contractors *AND* materiel in these countries. If we are invited as support by those governments, we can provide support and outlined by them, not by generals in the Pentagon nor by military contractors.

    Like (6)
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  • Jackie
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    I feel our Country is very unstable with Trump. He is unstable but, yet he thinks he knows better than anyone. It seems he is destroying this Country every single day and there’s nothing we can do about it. He puts children in cages and nothing is done to him, he gets by with murder and has torn USA apart. He’s divided families, friends and pitted the people against each other. I hate his decisive tactics, he’s sick!

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  • eliyak
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    We should never have entered Syria, and we should leave ASAP. The longer we are there, the more reasons we find to stay. Leave now.

    Like (5)
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  • Jim
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Where was this opposition during the last administration- when it announced the withdrawal from Iraq? And a shift to the pacific which was in name only as operations continued in Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. We cannot have a Congress who picks and chooses oversight based off a whim.

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  • Ellen
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Please defeat these bills, as we have spent too many lives and monies in the Mideast conflicts (7 tillion in Afghan war-total waste of money and lives). They need to determine their own fate. Also please release money to built the Wall. Thank you, sincerely, I voted for Obama.

    Like (4)
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  • Brian
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    No more overseas spending. Fix us first

    Like (3)
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  • Rick
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Politicians shouldn’t be tell military how to run war. AKA Vietnam Quagmire

    Like (3)
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  • Terry
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Makes America look indecisive to the world.

    Like (3)
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  • Mark
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Sort of...with the MORON IN THE WHITE HOUSE...definitely!!

    Like (2)
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  • Thelma
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    We need checks and balances on this president who shoots from this hip without any data. Here they are. I support this reasoned approach.

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  • Richard
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    We have bigger problems in our country! The threat of domestic instability presented by the mass influx of "refugees" from Central America is a much bigger problem. History has proven that our involvement in the Middle East disrupted the stability of the area. In short, we were sold a bill of goods by our government. A government I fully endorsed.

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  • Stewart
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Very debatable whether our presence in both countries has been “positive,” but it’s incredibly naive to argue we “just shouldn’t be involved in foreign countries affairs.” It’s a childish argument and an annoying one that I hear from both Democrats (Bernie) and the Trump Isolationist corner. A hasty withdrawal from either conflict is a national security threat and a guaranteed humanitarian crisis. Rather the crisis in both countries will get MUCH worse.

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  • Kyle
    Voted Oppose
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Its time to end the American Empire and its controlling families, then we need to hang draw and quarter those who benefit from these wars at the cost of american lives. Ending the wars is step 1. Go Trump Drain the Swamp.

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  • William
    Voted Support
    02/04/2019
    ···

    Vote yes on both the Menéndez and McConnell bills. No additional war powers for the president and maintain our presence in Afganistán and Syria. Promote democracy and human rights.

    Like (1)
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