After voting ‘present,’ Markey opposed to Syria strikes

Last week, Markey was the only member of the committee not to take a position on the resolution, which passed 10-7.

“Before casting such a monumental vote, I need to review all of the relevant classified materials relating to this matter before I make a decision as important as authorizing the use of military force,” he said in a statement after the vote.

Markey said that he would take a position before the vote that was planned for this week.

Of course, a vote on the Senate panel’s resolution is now in doubt. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) postponed a vote Wednesday, and a group of senators are working on an alternative resolution after Russia proposed Monday that Syria put its chemical weapons under international control.

Markey gave three reasons for his opposition, including the “last-minute” changes added by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the concern that U.S. troops would be drawn into the Syrian civil war.

He also cited the possibility for a diplomatic resolution —giving credit to “Kerry’s efforts.”

“Due to Secretary Kerry’s efforts, the Syrians, Russians, United Nations and the international community are all coming to the negotiating table,” Markey said.

“We should take advantage of this new diplomatic opportunity before we consider military action. Any resolution considered by Congress should include language that that anticipates that force would not be used if Syria agrees and abides by Secretary Kerry’s suggestion that Assad puts all of Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.”