House members drafting Syria resolution

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who supports military intervention in Syria, said this week he is part of a House effort to develop a resolution authorizing the use of force in that country.

That raises the prospects that the House will adopt its own language and possibly force the Senate to consider language that is different from its resolution.

In a Monday interview with MSNBC, Pompeo said he favors language that would ensure the Obama administration takes specific military action that helps Syrian rebels. That could mean a more prescriptive resolution than the one in the Senate, or one that calls for a more advanced military campaign in that country.

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"You can't begin by talking about a narrow strike over a couple, three days," he said. "You have to think about what the ramifications are, and how to help the moderate rebels be successful as Assad moves out of power in Syria. That's the goal, that's what America ought to be doing."

Wednesday afternoon, Pompeo tweeted that he favors a more aggressive military campaign in Syria. In response to one tweet wondering if more support might lead to a more punishing military campaign, Pompeo responded by saying "We're trying. Unfortunately, many look very distrustfully at the president given his past errors and lack of leadership."

In a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday, Pompeo and Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said they share the worry that Obama won't execute a military strike properly. But, they wrote, "Congress shouldn't guarantee a bad outcome for our country because of fears that the president will execute an imperfect military campaign."

On the specifics of the resolution text, Pompeo also said he believes that "some tweaking" needs to happen to the one offered by the Obama administration, and indicated that various members of the House are involved in discussing those tweaks.

"I know there are folks asking and drafting — I've been part of a discussion as well — where we make clear that 'here's why we're doing this, here's what we're hoping to achieve, and here's how we know when we have achieved that,' " he said.

Pompeo's office declined to confirm he was working to help write a Syria resolution that will be supported by House leaders. However, Pompeo is one of the few members of the House — along with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — who have said publicly that they favor military intervention, which means his input may be included in language presented by House leaders.

At the same time, Pompeo's apparent effort to produce a more aggressive resolution could lead to trouble in the House, where many members are already balking at Obama's proposed text.

House aides and other knowledgeable sources say they expect House leaders to present a Syria resolution at some point, after working in conjunction with the leaders of national security-related committees. But as of Wednesday, the timing and process for considering a House text was still unclear.

One House GOP aide said only that the Obama administration's resolution is "clearly inadequate."

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already changed the administration's proposed resolution, mostly by adding language ensuring there are no U.S. troops placed on the ground in Syria.

The Senate version, which could get a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, also specifies that the authorization for military action only lasts 60 days, with the possibility of a 30-day extension.

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