Congress Proceeds with Obama’s Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels

Congress Begins Debates

According to a report from Reuters, “The U.S. House of Representatives began debating legislation on Tuesday to authorize President Barack Obama’s plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants, and lawmakers said the measure would likely pass the full Congress by the end of this week.

House Republican leaders unveiled the authorization on Monday as an amendment to a stopgap funding bill Congress must pass this month, after Obama asked lawmakers to approve the training as part of his broader plan to stop the Sunni militants who have taken over swaths of Syria and Iraq. House members were expected to vote to pass the amendment on Wednesday, congressional aides and lawmakers said. It would then be sent to the U.S. Senate for approval this week, before lawmakers leave Washington to spend the next six weeks campaigning for the Nov. 4 congressional elections.”


Plan Will Most Likely Be Passed

Of course, the Senate, which is under the control of President Obama’s Democratic party, is expected to approve this amendment. It does, after all, give Obama a great amount of authority in the decisions made on how much to spend on arming the Syrian rebels. House Speaker John Boehner said that he thinks the request made by Obama is a sound one, and he does not see a reason for Congress to disapprove of it. He does feel, however, that the president’s plan to stop ISIS is not strong enough. Boehner was quoted as saying, “If our goal here is to destroy ISIL, we’ve got to do more than train a few folks in Syria and train a few folks in Iraq and drop some bombs.” Boehner said this to reporters after a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, using an alternative abbreviation for the Islamic State group, the report said.

Opposition, Despite Support From Both Sides

There is a great deal of opposition, despite the fact that both sides of Congress seem to be ready to agree to Obama’s request. Both Democratic and Republican members are afraid that another training mission could end up as disastrous as the war in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, where many US ground troops were sent…and lost. They do not want ground troops sent back into Iraq. Many do not even want to be involved in another conflict. They do not wish to send more American men and women to die in this fight. They do not wish to spend more of the American citizen’s tax money to prosecute a war. The do not want to arm and train more rebels who could in turn use that knowledge and those weapons against the US. They also do not like the power that it gives Obama.

What The Amendment Does

According to the report from Reuters, “The amendment allows the Pentagon to later submit reprogramming requests to shift funds within the budget if it needs money for the program. Those requests can be granted without full congressional approval, needing only authorization from certain committee leaders.” The amendment was actually suggested by the Republican Party as a way to give Obama the authority that he was requesting to provide weapons and training for the Syrian rebels. This amendment will stop the need for a debate on whether or not the White House should get the $500 million that it has asked for in order to provide that training and those weapons. It will give the president permission to basically go to war without the approval of Congress, which he seems to have done already.

What do you think? Should this amendment go through? Should we pay $500 million to arm and train Syrian rebels? Are your Congressmen representing your wishes as you voted for them to do?