Kaine: Syria resolution must explicitly forbid boots on the ground

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Tuesday said expected revisions to President Obama’s resolution authorizing military strikes on Syria should include a strict requirement that the administration return to Capitol Hill if the mission expands to include deploying ground troops against President Bashar Assad’s regime. 

Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Kaine said Congress should specify that Obama seek “additional authority before there are boots on ground,” even though the president has stated publicly troops won’t be sent into Syria. 

“That’s probably pretty important to specify,” said Kaine, adding there need to be “appropriate limitations” on U.S. strikes. 

Kaine’s comments come amid concern among Democrats and Republicans that the resolution proposed by Obama to authorize strikes is too broad. 

A senior White House official said Monday the administration was “open to working with Congress” on changes to the proposed language. 

The concession comes after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy indicated on Saturday that he planned to rewrite and narrow the president's request, which gives Obama permission to use “necessary and appropriate” force.

Kaine said it would be “a recipe for disaster" for Congress "to try to micromanage” a military campaign, but that “Congress has to be involved in the initiation of military action” in order to show a united front to U.S. forces. 

It would be “completely unfair” for the U.S. military to be put at risk without clear support from Congress as well as the president. 

Kaine said it’s possible there will be an effort in the Senate to filibuster Obama’s resolution – requiring 60 votes for passage – but that in the end there will be “strong congressional support” for hitting Assad. 

“I still think we care about the international principle that we don’t use chemical weapons against civilians,” he said.