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 FudgeDems nominate Kaine for VP Sanders gives blessing as Dems nominate Clinton Sanders formally nominated for president 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 MooreLawmakers mourn Gene Wilder’s death Wisconsin Dem calls for calm in wake of Milwaukee police shooting Dems to Obama: End citizenship rule for education programs 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 AmashHouse Freedom Caucus member slows floor business House votes to block Gitmo transfers Republican exodus from Trump grows MORE (Mich.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) opposed the amendment.
Some GOP lawmakers who voted no, such as Reps. Michele BachmannMichele BachmannTrump says 2016 is the GOP's last chance to win Bachmann: Clinton will prosecute churches and nonprofits The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Minn.) and Matt SalmonMatt Salmon GOP lawmakers give Trump bad reviews on debate performance House GOP talks 'minibuses,' moves toward Senate in spending fight Gloom sets in for GOP MORE (Ariz.), distrust the Syrian rebels and would prefer the U.S. launch a full authorization of military force.