Rand Paul Blocks Vote on House-Passed Resolution Criticizing Syria Troop Withdrawal for Second Time

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
October 23, 2019Updated: October 23, 2019

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked a Senate vote on a resolution that passed the House last week for the second time.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to trigger a vote on the resolution, which puts Congress on record as opposing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria, on Tuesday.

“What’s the best way to get the president to act? Well, my friends, you know it. It’s you. When Republican senators protest what the president has done, he sometimes acts,” Schumer said from the Senate floor, reported The Hill.

But Paul blocked the vote. Under Senate rules, one senator can request a vote on a bill but another senator can block the vote.

Paul, son of libertarian former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), said that Congress should formally approve war in Syria if it wants to go on the record.

“If Democrats want to send our young men and women to fight in the Syrian civil war, let’s have that debate. By all means, let’s have the constitutional debate today on the Senate floor right here, right now,” Paul said.

“We need a debate and a vote and authorization of force,” he added later. “It’s an utter and complete mess. It is time we get the hell out.”

Epoch Times Photo
An. American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria on Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Paul blocked the initial attempt by Schumer to hold a vote on the resolution last week.

“The resolution that’s being offered is simply a way to have petty partisan criticism of the president infect this body,” Paul said at the time.

The House passed the resolution on Oct. 16, 354-60, with a number of Republicans approving the bill.

The resolution stated that the House was “opposing the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.”

The resolution was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) with support from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.). Eight other representatives signed on, including Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.).

The resolution praised Kurds for fighting “courageously with the United States against the brutality of ISIS throughout Syria.” It said Turkey “has historically threatened, forcibly displaced, and killed Syrian Kurds.”

It noted the White House announced on Oct. 6 that U.S. forces would be leaving northern Syria. On Oct. 10, Turkey invaded Syria. Later that day, the White House said in a statement: “the United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.”

The United States later brokered a five-day ceasefire, Vice President Mike Pence said late Tuesday the ceasefire held and that negotiations are still underway for a permanent ceasefire that could include a safe zone between Turkey and the Kurdish population in Syria.

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