In a vote Wednesday, the House approved giving President Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS in the Middle East.
The vote was bipartisan, reports CBS News, with 273 votes in favor of the measure and 156 against. Democrats made up 85 of the votes against, with Republicans adding the remaining 71.
The approval was given reluctantly, as both parties have doubts about the measure; Democrats are concerned about whether the U.S. can trust the rebels, while Republicans don’t think Obama is doing enough to combat the terrorism threats from ISIS by simply providing arms and training for the Syrian rebels.
According to The Associated Press, the $500 million price that put on Obama’s request to train and arm the Syrian rebels was of less concern to lawmakers than the possible consequences of undertaking the new military mission so soon after the United States ended participation in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Obama and House Democratic leaders such as Nancy Pelosi have assured liberal lawmakers that the mission would be limited. However, only a day before the vote went before House members, The Inquisitr reported that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin E. Dempsey told Congress he has not ruled out deploying ground troops, and could recommend them to President Obama if his current strategy fails to stop ISIS.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told The Associated Press in an interview that his government does not want U.S. ground troops in the country.
“Not only is in not necessary; we don’t want them. We won’t allow them,” he said.
Republican lawmakers were reassured by the fact that the legislation only grants the president authority until December 11, giving them time to return to the issue in the post-election session beginning in mid-November.
Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma pointed out that the approval also includes strict limits on Obama’s authority.
“Members on both sides of the aisle are very concerned that too much of Congress’ war making power has gone to the president,” he said.
There was little opposition to Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion that ISIS “must be defeated. Period. End of story.” Yet, the debate continues on how to stop them.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif. voiced the fear of the measure’s opponents that the Syrian rebels would eventually turn out to be unreliable allies, saying, “We simply don’t know if somewhere down the line it will turn our guns back against us.”
[Photo courtesy of Rare]