The recent Russian proposal -- in response to Secretary Kerry's comments -- is a positive development. It is important to recognize that this proposal only resulted from President Obama's determination to use limited force to deter Syria from the future use of chemical weapons.
Clearly, if Syria puts its chemical weapons under international control, then the Assad regime would be unable to use them again in the future and we will have achieved the important goal of stopping poison gas attacks in Syria and deterring the use of chemical weapons in future conflicts. We believe we can accomplish this goal if we maintain the pressure that caused the Russians to embrace the proposal in the first place. Therefore, we have amended our Resolution to give these recent proposals a chance to succeed.
- Would authorize the limited use of force (as defined in section 3 below) starting 30 days after passage if the President certifies to Congress that: a) Syria has refused to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention or b) there is no credible plan to place the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile under verifiable international control.
- Would authorize the President to use limited force (as defined in section 3 below) if the President certifies to Congress that he has determined with high confidence that Syria has used chemical weapons again, since August 21, 2013. The Congress would have five days to pass a resolution to disapprove this factual determination -- and block the use of force -- if it found the evidence inadequate.
- Any use of force under this Joint Resolution would be limited in the following way:
a) the purpose of the use of force is to deter the future use of chemical weapons;
b) the force must be limited, proportional and directed at legitimate military targets;
c) no US military personnel on the ground in Syria except to rescue Americans;
d) this authority shall expire 60 days after passage;
e) during that 60 day period, it prohibits the President from continuing the use of force beyond the initial deterrent military strikes the President has called for unless he certifies to Congress that the Assad regime has repeated its use of chemical weapons;
f) subject to a vote of congressional disapproval, the President may request a 30 day extension of this authority for the purpose of completing a plan to place the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile under verifiable international control.
We believe this proposal has a strong chance of accomplishing the objective set out by the President—to deter the further use of chemical weapons in Syria and in future conflicts, including those where American forces would be at risk.
Chris Van Hollen Gerry Connolly
Member of Congress Member of Congress