Senate panel says first vote on Syria resolution likely on Wednesday

Congressional aides say the top lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have reached agreement on a resolution on using military force against Syria.

The aides said the panel planned to consider and vote on the measure Wednesday. The resolution would limit the duration of any U.S. military action in response to the Syrian government’s suspected use of chemical weapons on its people. It also would specifically bar U.S. ground troops from Syria.

Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he hoped a Senate resolution on the use of U.S. military force in Syria would be written by the end of Tuesday, and it was likely the panel could vote on it on Wednesday. “It is likely that we could very well be in a business meeting sometime after the classified hearing tomorrow morning,” he said.

President Obama is asking Congress to back his call for limited U.S. strikes on Syria to punish President Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Menendez said during a hearing that committee leaders and staff were working on a text that would let President Barack Obama’s administration pursue military action in Syria, but ensure that it is not an open-ended engagement “and specifically not with boots on the ground, American troops on the ground.”

At the end of the 3-1/2 hour hearing on Syria, Menendez told the 18 committee members that a business meeting to vote on a text of the resolution was “likely” after a classified hearing with top administration officials on Wednesday morning.