In a 47 minute speech on the Senate floor, Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted fellow senators for attaching the vote on arming Syrian rebels onto a spending bill, rather than a free-standing bill, accusing them of shirking their constitutional duty.
Paul also expressed his strong opposition to the president’s plan to arm and train the so-called moderate rebels out of concerns the weapons could be turned on US troops and our allies. “No one really knows where all these arms are going to wind up,” he said.
The Senate will vote Thursday evening on a spending bill that includes the request to arm the rebels. While the House on Wednesday held a separate vote on the military authority, the legislation they sent to the Senate tucks that decision inside the spending bill — and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wouldn’t separate the two.
“I think it’s inexcusable that this would be debated as part of a spending bill and not a free standing bill,” Mr. Paul said, adding, “One might wonder why the Senate doesn’t have fifteen extra minutes to debate war.”
Cruz said, “All too often the Obama Administration proposals threaten to become embroiled in the midst of these political crises as, for example, they have made training and equipping the Free Syrian Army a cornerstone of their plan to fight ISIS. But just this week the leader of the Free Syrian Army reportedly announced that he would not participate in the fight against ISIS unless we pledged to join in his fight against the Syrian dictator Bashir al Assad.
The initiative is expected to pass the Senate but will have to be revisited in December when Obama’s authority to train and arm moderate rebels expires.