By Alexander Bolton - 09/04/13 07:12 PM EDT
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Wednesday afternoon to expand a use-of-force resolution by specifying the goal of U.S. military intervention in Syria should be to bolster the Free Syrian Army.
The committee adopted two McCain-Coons amendments by voice vote.
One states that the U.S. strategy toward Syria should aim “to degrade the capabilities of the Assad regime to use weapons of mass destruction while upgrading the lethal and non-lethal military capabilities of vetted elements of Syrian opposition forces.”
The second reiterated that it is U.S. policy that Assad’s departure from power, an end to violence, and a negotiated political settlement are prerequisites for regional peace and security.
The votes pave the way for the committee to pass Wednesday afternoon a resolution authorizing military force against Assad’s government.
The panel earlier voted 14-4 to table an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressing a sense of the Senate that the president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not pose “an actual or imminent threat” to the nation.