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Senate committee approves resolution for military action in Syria

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee members on Wednesday passed a resolution authorizing military action against Syria, setting up an expected vote in the full chamber next week.

After the committee held a three-hour closed-door briefing with Secretary of State John Kerry and other administration officials, the panel drafted and approved a revised resolution that differed slightly from President Obama's proposal to launch strategic airstrikes against Syria.

"My sense is, we have a really good chance at consensus development," said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the panel's senior Republican.

When asked if his fellow Republicans would support the measure, Corker said there was a "gelling" of consensus among his party colleagues that was "very constructive."

Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said he "believe(s) we'll get there" in reaching an agreement.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is opposed to taking military action against Syria, said before the vote it seemed inevitable the full Senate would pass a resolution authorizing airstrikes against the Middle East country.

"The only chance of stopping what I consider to be bad policy will be in in the House," he said.

Paul said there is no "clear cut or compelling American interest" to intervene in Syria.

"I see a horrible tragedy but I don't see our involvement will lesson the tragedy —I think it may well make the tragedy worse," he said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who supports U.S. military intervention in Syria, said he has concerns the resolution won't go far enough to "change the battlefield momentum, which presently is in favor of [Syrian President] Bashar Assad."

"We are negotiating and discussing how that could happen," he said. "If Bashar Assad remains in an advantageous position, he will never leave Syria.

When asked if he was confident his concerns would be met in a final resolution, the Republican said "we're working hard on it."

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Sean Lengell

Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner