OAN Deven Berryhill
UPDATED 6:25 PM PT – Wednesday, March 8, 2023
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 103-321 on Wednesday rejecting Matt Gaetz’ war powers resolution to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
Using expedited procedures sanctioned by the War Powers Act, House Representative Matthew Gaetz (R-Fla.) forced the floor vote to no avail. If passed, the bill would have required the Biden administration to withdraw all troops stationed in Syria within six months.
The Biden administration has left about 900 U.S. troops in Syria where they carry out operations to counter ISIS.
“Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria,” said Gaetz in comments leading up to the vote. “The United States is currently not in a war with or against Syria, so why are we conducting dangerous military operations there? President [Joe] Biden must remove all U.S. armed forces from Syria.”
Democrats from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Libertarian and “America First” Republicans joined behind Gaetz to try and pass the resolution. The bill only received a third of the vote amid opposition from leaders in both parties.
“Even though ISIS no longer controls significant territory, there are still tens of thousands of hardened terrorist fighters in Iraq and Syria who are hellbent on establishing their terror state” said House Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Fla.) from the House floor.
Gaetz was among 56 Democrats and 47 Republicans that voted to pass the bill.
“I don’t believe that our presence is deterring much of anything,” said Gaetz in an interview last week with DefenseNews.com. “I think that it’s a risk of us escalating the conflict.”
The Florida congressmen went on to remind House members of the many American lives lost in Middle East wars.
“So often we come to the floor and we debate frivolities. This is one of the most important things we can be talking about,” said Gaetz. “How we use the credibility of our fellow Americans … how we spill the blood of our bravest patriots. We have stained the deserts in the Middle East with enough American blood. It is time to bring our servicemembers home.”
Many House members showed support for the continued U.S. military presence in Syria. Some claimed that a premature withdraw could threaten more American lives by allowing foreign terrorist groups like ISIS to strengthen. That point was made clear by the 150 Democrats and 171 Republicans who voted against the resolution.