Senate

Paul blocks vote on House-passed Syria resolution for second time

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked for the second time on the Senate floor a resolution formally opposing President Trump’s Syria strategy.
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to set up a vote on the House-passed resolution, which formally opposes Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria and calls on Turkey to end its military incursion. 
 
“What’s the best way to get the president to act? Well, my friends, you know it. It’s you. When Republican senators protest what the president has done, he sometimes acts,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. 
 
Under the Senate’s rules, any one senator can request to vote on or pass a bill. But because that requires the signoff of every senator, any one lawmaker can block the request.{mosads}
 
Paul, a libertarian-leaning GOP senator, argued that if Congress is going to take up a resolution opposing Trump’s Syria decision, it needs to have a larger war powers debate.
 
“If Democrats want to send our young men and women to fight in the Syrian civil war, let’s have that debate. By all means, let’s have the constitutional debate today on the Senate floor right here, right now,” Paul said. 
 
The resolution — sponsored by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in the House, with a companion bill sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) in the Senate — “opposes the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.”
 
It also calls on Turkey to end its military action, calls on the United States to protect the Kurds and calls on the White House “to present a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat of ISIS.”
 
It’s the second time Paul has blocked the resolution from getting a vote. Schumer made the same request last week before the Kentucky Republican held it up.
 
Schumer argued on Tuesday that Paul’s understanding of what requires a declaration of war is “different than 99.9 percent of America and from every other single person in this chamber.” 
 
Paul fired back that if the United States was trying to “create a Kurdish homeland … hell yes we need a debate and a vote and authorization of force.” 
 
“It’s an utter and complete mess,” he added. “It is time we get the hell out.” 
 
If Paul keeps blocking the House-passed resolution, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would need to force a vote. 
 
But the GOP leader has panned the House-passed resolution and introduced his own competing measure on Tuesday.
 
McConnell said the House measure was “badly insufficient.” He added that it was “silent” on the U.S. military presence in Syria and that “perhaps the goal was to paper over disagreements within the Democratic Party.”
Tags Bob Menendez Charles Schumer Donald Trump Eliot Engel Michael McCaul Mitch McConnell Rand Paul Syria Todd Young Turkey
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