WASHINGTON — US House members want to use the annual Pentagon policy bill to alter the White House’s program to train and equip Syrian rebels — or end it.
When the chamber debates its 2016 national defense authorization act (NDAA) later this week, members could face debates and votes on a number of Syria-themed amendments. So far, nearly 10 amendments seeking to recast the controversial program have been submitted for consideration by the Rules Committee.
Several Democratic amendments, which might not make it out of Rules, target the train-and-equip program’s funding. And one, from GOP Rep. Curtis Clawson of Florida, does the same.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters Tuesday that he agrees with other members that “there’s a lot of room to be reason to be skeptical about some of the claims on this.”
“To pull the plug completely and say ‘No, we’re not going to do that,’ kind of leaves you in the position of having to answer the question of, ‘Okay, what are you going to do?’
“In the bigger scheme of things, helping the Iraqis get back on their feet and recover their sovereign territory is the critical next most important step,” he said. “Now, that does not eliminate [the Islamic State] because they have [a presence] inside Syria.