Senate adds rebuke of Trump’s Syria policy to Middle East bill

Senate adds rebuke of Trump’s Syria policy to Middle East bill
© Stefani Reynolds

The Senate voted on Monday to include rebuking President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE’s Syria policy in a foreign policy bill set to pass the chamber later this week. 

Senators voted 70-26 on the amendment from Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Jon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE (R-Ky.), which warns the Trump administration from a “precipitous” withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria and Afghanistan. 

The amendment was virtually guaranteed to be added to the legislation after if overcame a 60-vote filibuster late last week. 

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“When America’s national security and vital interests are at stake, some circumstances require not only the use of important diplomatic tools but also direct involvement from the United States. That’s why I introduced an amendment ... so the Senate can speak clearly and directly about the importance of our nation’s ongoing missions in Afghanistan and Syria,” McConnell said ahead of Monday’s vote.

McConnell’s amendment also urges the administration to certify that certain conditions have been met "for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS before initiating any significant withdrawal of United States forces from Syria or Afghanistan."

In response to concerns from Democrats, the Senate also easily cleared a tweak to McConnell’s amendment that would clarify that the resolution should not be “constructed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of military force."

Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria, which precipitated the resignation of former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTop nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Top nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One MORE, sparked fierce backlash on Capitol Hill. 

Two officials told The New York Times last year that the administration had ordered the U.S. military to start withdrawing troops in Afghanistan, but Trump, who has long railed against the war there, has not made an official announcement.

The Washington Post reported last week that the United States and the Taliban were moving closer to a deal that could result in the removal of U.S. troops from the country.