The Crossroads of Special Operations

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Big Wins: Obama, McKeon Score as Senate OKs Syrian Rebel Train-And-Equip Plan

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Approval of a package that averts a government shutdown and green-lights a program to militarily prepare Syrian rebels netted a big win for several prominent politicians, including the president and the House Armed Services Committee chairman.

Leaders in both chambers view House and Senate passage of a $1 trillion continuing resolution (CR) as a bullet dodged, because Republican and Democratic leadership feared a federal shutdown would have been politically poisonous in November’s midterm elections.

The Senate approved the bill Thursday evening by a vote of 78-22.

But House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio; Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are not the only ones who scored victories this week.

President Obama scored big. And outgoing HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., secured perhaps a final political win as his retirement draws near.

When the Senate approved the CR in a bipartisan vote — just as the House did about 24 hours earlier — it gave Obama most of what he requested as a major part of his plan to fight the Islamic State (IS) group.

In his Sept. 10 prime time speech about combating IS, Obama staked a big part of his plans on opposition forces that have been fighting Syrian government forces for years, and more recently, also the IS.

“Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against [the Islamic State group], we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost,” Obama said.

Read More:Big Wins: Obama, McKeon Score as Senate OKs Syrian Rebel Train-And-Equip Plan | Defense News | defensenews.com.

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