Senate Backs ISIS Bill, but Some Big Names Balk

Rand Paul, Elizabeth Warren in the 'no' camp
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2014 6:56 PM CDT
Senate Backs ISIS Bill, but Some Big Names Balk
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Senate today followed the lead of the House and passed a spending bill that gives President Obama the authority to train and arm Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS. The measure passed easily, 78-22, but the Hill notes that some potential presidential candidates were in the "no" camp, including Republicans Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Paul, for instance, said the Syrian measure should have been a stand-alone vote so it could be fully debated, rather than tucked into a must-pass spending measure. "Here we are again, wading into a civil war," he said, as quoted by AP.

But today's limited vote is exactly how party leaders and most senators wanted it just weeks ahead of the midterms, reports the New York Times. Today's measure gives them the luxury of "sidestepping the debate over the extent of American military action until the lame-duck session of Congress later this year," write Jonathan Weisman and Jeremy Peters. President Obama, meanwhile, praised the vote immediately afterward. "I believe we're strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together," he said. Referring to the beheading of two US journalists, he said that "as Americans we do not give in to fear." (ISIS is using another hostage to spout its propaganda.)

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