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 announce 'unity commission' members If Democrats want to take back the White House start now A guide to the committees: House 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 MooreHouse Dems ask Fed to consider diverse candidates to fill Richmond vacancy Black Dems tell Trump: ‘We have a lot to lose’ Dem rep to introduce bill to block use of federal funds for Trump's border wall 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 AmashBipartisan push grows for new war authorization The Hill's Whip List: 21 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill Oversight Dems want vote on Trump tax return bill MORE (Mich.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) opposed the amendment.
Some GOP lawmakers who voted no, such as Reps. Michele BachmannMichele Bachmann'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast Ex-rep admires furs amid PETA inaugural gala Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog MORE (Minn.) and Matt SalmonMatt SalmonConservative activists want action from Trump Senators fear fallout of nuclear option Western Republicans seek new federal appeals court MORE (Ariz.), distrust the Syrian rebels and would prefer the U.S. launch a full authorization of military force.