WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans blocked a vote Thursday on a House-passed resolution that condemned President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria, a military move that paved the way for a Turkish offensive against the Kurds.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., attempted to force Senate passage Thursday afternoon of the bipartisan House resolution that passed on an overwhelming 340-60-4 vote Wednesday.

“He does not grasp the gravity of the situation. He doesn’t understand it,” Schumer said of Trump. “The most important thing we can do right now is send President Trump a message that Congress, the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans, demand to reverse course.”

But several Republican senators, led by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, stood up to object, thus blocking passage of the resolution.

“The Constitution is quite clear: No authorization has ever been given for the use of force in Syria, no authorization of declaration of war, no permission to be there at all,” Paul said. “So if they want to insert themselves into the civil war, by all means, let’s have a debate, let’s have the constitutional debate, but I for one am not willing to send one young man, or one young woman, one soldier, over there without a clear mission.”

Also objecting to the resolution were Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch, R-Idaho, and Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Mike Braun, R-Ind.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of R-Ky., said Thursday that his preference is for legislation even stronger than the House-passed resolution, arguing the measure had some serious weaknesses.



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