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Senators said to be crafting Syria alternative

Sep. 10, 2013 - 12:23PM   |  
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WASHINGTON — Congressional aides say a bipartisan group of senators is working on an alternative measure to a resolution authorizing U.S. military force against Syria.

The group met late Monday on a plan that would call on the U.N. Security Council to state that Syria has chemical weapons and require a U.N. team to remove them within a specific time period, possibly 60 days. If this cannot be done, then President Barack Obama would have the authority to launch military strikes.

For all of our Syria coverage, visit FLASHPOINT: SYRIA

The senators working on the proposal are Republicans John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss along with Democrats Chris Coons, Bob Casey, Chuck Schumer, Carl Levin and Bob Menendez.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the plan.

Senate Republican leader McConnell has announced his opposition to military strikes against Syria.

The Kentucky Republican says no vital national security risk is at play and there are too many unanswered questions about the United States' long-term strategy in Syria.

McConnell says the proposal is, quote, "utterly detached from a wider strategy to end the civil war" in Syria.

In the lower chamber, House Speaker John Boehner says he is skeptical of Syria's offer to turn over chemical weapons to international monitors but said President Barack Obama has not yet sold the American people on the need for military.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the Ohio Republican said he is skeptical of Syria's offer because of, quote, "the actors that are involved." Russia, a longtime Syria ally, is trying to broker an agreement, though Boehner did not mention Russia by name.

Boehner has supported Obama's call to use force against Syria as punishment for allegedly using chemical weapons against civilians, including children.

However, Boehner said other House members oppose Obama's plan because the president has not persuaded the American people it is necessary. Obama is to address the nation Tuesday night.

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