As a Senate committee sends its plan for military action in Syria to the floor for a vote, it's now up to leaders in the House to develop a resolution of their own. And two Democratic congressmen from the D.C. region have taken on the task. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Gerry Connelly of Virginia say they're drafting an approach that would put clear limits on any U.S.-led military strike in Syria. David Hawkings, writer for the Hawkings Here column for Roll Call, talks about some of the details. Following are highlights of his analysis.
On why Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Gerry Connelly are playing key roles in this debate:
"They both have a keen interest in foreign policy, and they have known each other since the 1980s. Like so many members of Congress, they both became members after serving on Congressional staffs. And the two of them actually worked together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff. Connolly is now the number five Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee; Van Hollen is not on the Foreign Relations Committee, but is a senior member of the Democratic leadership, so they thought they would understand where the mainstream of House Democrats is in this debate, which is... something narrower than what the president initially proposed, something like what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved this week. So the two of them are trying to get Democrats lined up similar to what the Democrats and Republicans are working on."
On when we can expect a resolution:
"It's somewhat up in the air. Today the House and Senate are meeting for a couple of minutes each... to set sort of the bureaucratic course for this debate to get started next week. They have to file the legislation the Senate is working on today, to start the clock running next week."
On how a military strike in Syria could affect federal budget negotiations:
"It seems in the last few hours, the House Republican leadership has decided to decouple these two debates as much as they possibly can. We now believe that sometime today, the House Republican leadership will announce that they are going to move next week... on a stopgap-spending bill that would be a relative extension of current spending levels."
Listen to the full analysis here.