House GOP Moves to Authorize Training Syrian Rebels

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House Republicans are working to approve President Barack Obama’s request to equip and train moderate Syrian rebels with legislation that requires heavy Congressional oversight and explicitly does not authorize the deployment of U.S troops to combat Islamic militants.

The authorization, a key part of Obama’s strategy to defeat ISIS, will likely be included as an amendment to a government funding bill that will be considered this week. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters on Monday he is confident both the funding bill and amendment will pass.

The legislation would require the Pentagon to alert Congressional leadership and relevant committees 15 days before any training operation begins (or any arms and equipment are transferred), after which the Pentagon will be required to give updates every 90 days, according to a House Armed Services Committee aide.

"As these forces deploy, we want to know the effectiveness of them, how many of them deploy and remain in the ranks, what has happened to the equipment," the aide said.

The authorization also makes clear it does not constitute authority to send U.S. combat troops into Iraq or Syria, where the terror group has taken hold of a large swath of territory.

Congressional aides say the House is expected to consider the bills on Wednesday.


-- Frank Thorp V