If Congress votes on formal authorization of US airstrikes in Syria, which began Tuesday, the White House would have some work to do with skeptical House Democrats.
American aircraft and warships pounded Islamic State (IS) group targets on Syrian soil for the first time early Tuesday morning, opening a new front in the 13-year-old war on violent Islamic groups.
“The strikes destroyed or damaged multiple ISIL targets in the vicinity of Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal and included ISIL fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
The onset of US strikes inside Syria came at the start of the second full business day of a seven-week congressional recess, during which time lawmakers are focused on getting re-elected, not debating whether to authorize strikes and other military actions against the IS.
Members of both chambers received classified briefings about the White House’s plans before they left Washington, and there were public hearings in both chambers last week. And while the House and Senate approved President Barack Obama’s plans to train Syrian opposition forces to fight the IS, neither debated nor voted on a formal use-of-force measure.
But in the ornate hallways around both chambers, Democrats and Republicans were confidently declaring they and their colleagues — on both sides of the aisle — want to do so when they return the week after the Nov. 4 midterms.
“No one I’ve talked to — Democrat or Republican — about this believes we should not have a vote,” Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., told reporters before the break.