Menendez, Corker defend Syria resolution as only path to a diplomatic solution

“The resolution we are introducing is for focused action where American boots will not be on the ground,” Menendez said. “This is not a declaration of war but a declaration of our values.”

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President Obama has asked for congressional support to use limited military strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is accused of using chemical weapons against his own people. Obama is expected to address the nation tomorrow evening to make his case for the attacks.

Corker said that even though he rarely agreed with Obama on many issues, he was “thrilled” that Obama came to Congress for military authorization.

“I think it is important for us to give him this authorization,” Corker said. “But I really do believe that it’s now up to the president to make his case to the American people as to why the United States Senate should give him this military force.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a motion to proceed to S.Res. 21, which passed on a bipartisan 10-7 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. 

The Senate is expected to vote on whether to proceed to a debate on the resolution on Wednesday. It is unclear whether the motion to end debate on the Syria resolution will garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster; many senators have come out in opposition to the move, while others remain undecided.

Some lawmakers have complained that the resolution gives the president too much authority, while others have said the limited strikes wouldn’t deter Assad’s attacks. Corker said both accusations were wrong.

“I really do believe to characterize what is proposed as a pin prick or a long-term military role, both are wrong,” Corker said. “[But] each senator has to make their own decision.”