(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will begin debating legislation on Tuesday to give President Barack Obama approval for arming and training rebels who oppose both Islamic State militants and Syria’s government.
Republican lawmakers unveiled a measure, written with input from the White House, that would quickly provide the authority – but not the funding – that Obama wants to equip and train the moderate Syrian rebels.
The measure sets conditions including barring the use of U.S. ground forces and requiring the administration to submit regular progress reports on the plan and its vetting of the rebels receiving the training and equipment.
The plan is a major component of Obama’s campaign to stop Islamic State militants who have seized large swaths of Iraq andSyria, where both the Islamic State and the moderate rebels are waging a three-year-long civil war against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
“I think the new language is appropriate. It puts a check on the administration, prevents the introduction of combat boots on the ground, requires very close monitoring by the Congress, all along the way,” said Kentucky Republican Representative Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The measure was written as an amendment to a stop-gap spending bill that both houses of Congress must pass to keep the government open after the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.