Rand Paul Says Only the House Can Stop Syria Resolution

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted September 4, 2013 at 2:33pm

Sen. Rand Paul thinks the Senate will pass the authorization for use of force against Syria, and he’s squarely throwing an effort to try and derail the proposal into the lap of the House.

In that chamber, there is no shortage of lawmakers to watch.

“I think they will win the vote in the committee, and I think they will win the vote in the Senate. The only chance of stopping what I consider to be bad policy is the House,” Paul told reporters Wednesday.

Paul’s comments suggest he sees a filibuster-proof majority of at least 60 senators coming together to back the resolution, since there seems to be little appetite for President Barack Obama and Senate Democratic leaders to try any procedural shortcuts that might be available under the War Powers Resolution.

Paul offered one amendment during a Wednesday afternoon markup at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that was delayed, in part, so lawmakers could negotiate amendments.

“We have one amendment that we will file that reiterates that the Constitution delegated this authority to the legislature, and so I’m going to have them vote on the record whether they believe that or not, and so that’ll be my amendment,” he said.

A number of other amendments are expected, some that might be adopted by consensus. Sen. Chris Coons, for instance, drafted an amendment aimed at tightening up the reporting requirements imposed on the Obama administration.

The Delaware Democrat has also been crafting language to specify that a negotiated resolution to the ongoing civil war in Syria is a U.S. policy goal. He’s been working with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

“The one concern I have is concerning the military situation on the battlefield,” McCain told reporters following yet another closed briefing in the Capitol on Wednesday morning.

McCain said he wants to ensure there’s language to push to “create conditions for a negotiated settlement and the departure of Bashar al-Assad from power.”

“We are negotiating and discussing how that could happen. We will be marking up a bill later on, but I think it’s very important that we have that provision in this legislation because without the provision for reversing momentum on the battlefield, the conditions are not created for the departure of Bashar al-Assad from power,” McCain said. “There is no policy without that.”