A total of 85 House Democrats, primarily anti-war liberals, voted Wednesday against the proposal to arm Syrian rebels against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The majority of the Democratic caucus, 114 members total, joined 159 Republicans to pass the amendment. But an unusual coalition of nearly an equal number of Democrats (85) and Republicans (71) opposed President Obama's proposal, which was voted on as an amendment to a stopgap funding bill to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.
Other Democrats, such Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), voted no because they believe that Congress should vote on a full authorization of military force against ISIS instead of a narrow measure considered as part of a short-term spending bill.
Still other Democrats, such as Reps. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) and Jackie Speier (Calif.), said they are wary of becoming involved in another military conflict in the Middle East.
"We should be frank with ourselves and the American people. We are not facing a limited engagement, but a new war that will only escalate," Speier said.
Most of the Congressional Black Caucus voted for the amendment, but Chairwoman Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeNutrition subcommittee members fight hunger for the holidays Dems face choice of unseating Pelosi Insurgent Dems endorse Pelosi challenger Tim Ryan MORE (D-Ohio) and others including Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Gwen MooreGwen MooreWis. Dem demands apology for Republican's 'communist' jab La. rep picked to lead Congressional Black Caucus Pelosi fends off challenge to leadership MORE (D-Wis.) voted against it.
Members opposed to the measure formed an unusual set of bedfellows consisting of liberals and far-right conservatives rarely seen casting the same vote on a major issue.
A sizable group of libertarian Republicans that included Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashOversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report Electors: Stand up for Constitution, stand up to Trump GOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency MORE (Mich.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) opposed the amendment.
Some GOP lawmakers who voted no, such as Reps. Michele BachmannMichele BachmannWill Trump back women’s museum? Michele Bachmann on Trump victory: ‘God did this’ The right-wing wants a revolution, and we had better pay attention MORE (Minn.) and Matt SalmonMatt SalmonWhat gun groups want from Trump Ryan delays committee assignments until 2017 GOP lawmakers praise Trump for Taiwan call MORE (Ariz.), distrust the Syrian rebels and would prefer the U.S. launch a full authorization of military force.