Tea Party Republicans join anti-war Dems on bill restricting aid to Syria

Two Tea Party Republicans joined two anti-war Democrats Thursday on legislation to make it illegal for President Obama to arm the Syrian rebels.

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Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Energy: Trump outlines 'America First' energy plan in North Dakota Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules Paul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) and Mike LeeMike LeeMeet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Overnight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns MORE (R-Utah) partnered with Chris MurphyChris MurphyDem senators call for sanctions on Congo Overnight Healthcare: Momentum on mental health? | Zika bills head to conference | Only 10 ObamaCare co-ops left Senators hope for deal soon on mental health bill MORE (D-Conn.) and Tom UdallTom UdallHonor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids House, Senate roll out chemical safety compromise Overnight Energy: Lawmakers closing in on chemical safety deal MORE (D-N.M.) on the bill that would bar the Obama administration from “supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Syria.” The bill has an exemption for “non-lethal humanitarian assistance.”

“We need to place a check on the president’s unilateral decision to arm the rebels, while still preserving humanitarian aid and assistance to the Syrian people, and that is why I’m introducing this bill,” Udall said in a statement announcing the legislation. 

“Bottom line: We should not get involved in another civil war in the Middle East without a clear national security interest.”

The White House announced last week that Obama has concluded that President Bashar Assad's forces have used chemical weapons, and that the administration would respond with “military assistance” to vetted rebel groups. 

The bill is going nowhere in the Senate, where both parties largely agree that the United States needs to play a greater role in Syria despite widespread public concern. Murphy, Udall and Paul were the only “no” votes when legislation to arm the rebels cleared the Senate Foreign Relations panel by a 15-3 vote last month.

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