The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted down a resolution introduced by Rep Matt Gaetz of Florida to withdraw the remaining 900 or so American troops stationed in Syria, but the resolution drew a rare show of bipartisan support.
The House as a whole rejected the resolution, which would have mandated that President Joe Biden withdraw US troops in Syria within 180 days, by a count of 321-103.
The 103 lawmakers who voted in favour of the resolution were comprised of both conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats, an unlikely cross-section of the House united in its desire to scale back American military interventionism.
The Progressive Caucus, for instance, urged its members to support the resolution introduced by Mr Gaetz — a far right member of the Freedom Caucus who has enthusastically allied himself with former President Donald Trump.
The Democrats who ultimately supported the resolution included Reps Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, along with vetern progressive legislators like Reps Earl Blumenauer, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, and Lloyd Doggett.
Republicans who voted in favour included far right Reps Paul Gosar, Chip Roy, Thomas Massie, and a number of other legislators who have advocated for Congress to make more use of its oversight authority.
The US began operations in Syria in 2014 with airstrikes authorised by President Barack Obama, intervening in the country’s ongoing Civil War on the side of its rebel forces. Nine years later, the US still has a military presence in the country purportedly to fight the group ISIS — one that a number of lawmakers have been trying to bring to an end for years.
A similar resolution introduced by Rep Jamaal Bowman of New York last year that would have given Mr Biden a year to withdraw US troops from Syria recieved more votes — 130 from Democrats and 25 from Republicans — but was also defeated.
Mr Gaetz’s resolution this year, which he said could be the precursor to similar resolutions ending US involvement in places like Yemen, Niger, Sudan, and Ukraine, won the support of Mr Obama’s ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who argued in a letter to Congress that the US forces have an unachievable mission in the country. Ultimately, it didn’t matter.