The U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on Wednesday to approve President Barack Obama's proposed plan for military action in Syria in response to chemical weapons use by the Bashar al-Assad regime.
A Wednesday afternoon committee meeting approved the drafted resolution by a 10-to-7 vote in favor of the plan, which will next go to the full Senate floor for debate.
The 18-member Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing closed and public sessions for testimony over Syria since Tuesday was formerly chaired by John Kerry, now leading the charge seeking approval for President Obama's plan. The hearings were a return for Defense Secretary Hagel as well, who also formerly served on the Senate committee.
Sentators Robert Menendez (D- N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee respectively, have spoken in support of limited military action against the Assad regime. Foreign Relations Committee democrats include Senators Cardin (Md.), Shaheen (N.H.), Coons (De.), Durbin (Ill.), Udall (N.M.), Murphy (Ct.), Kaine (Va.) and Markey (Mass.), while committee republicans include Risch (Id.), Rubio (Fl.), Johnson (Wi.), Flake (Az.), McCain (Az.), Barrasso (Wy.) and Paul (Ky.)
According to tweets from Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe, votes crossed party lines, with one Senator (Markey) only voting "Present."
If Congress goes on to approve the request in full, the U.S. could initiate a limited strike on Syria within a short time frame, some predict within just a few days. The Obama administration says more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of women and children, were killed in that assault, arguing U.S. credibility and international legal limits on the use of chemical weapons are on the line should the U.S. fail to respond.
The draft resolution is available here.