Trump allies in Senate lash out over troop withdrawal plans

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He openly mocked the idea of an Election Day holiday on the Senate floor and called it a “power grab”

The Senate voted 68-23 in favor of a non-binding amendment, drafted by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it was the sense of the Senate that Islamic militant groups in both countries continue to pose a "serious threat" to the United States.

Trump surprised US lawmakers and worldwide allies on December 19 by announcing he was withdrawing all 2,000 USA troops from Syria, where they are assisting a Syrian Arab and Kurdish alliance fighting against Islamic State militants and other forces.

The non-binding language calls al Qaeda and the Islamic State continuing global threats, contradicting Mr. Trump's Twitter-based foreign policy claims that the fight against worldwide terrorism has been largely wrapped up.

Trump also ordered the military to develop plans to remove up to half of the 14,000 American forces in Afghanistan.

An emergency declaration would also risk further political damage to Trump, whose disapproval rating rose significantly over the 35-day partial government shutdown as more Americans faulted Trump than Democrats for the standoff.

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With the fresh McConnell drama, Trump's foreign policy is under strain on the Hill from both hawkish and realist right.

"It's sort of this great improvisation directed by the president of the United States, that doesn't really follow any of the notes or sheets of music", Katulis said. "This is ours. These people, who are going to operate in these safe havens and Iran, we are their target", said Sen.

On issues like NATO, on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Russian Federation sanctions, on North Korea, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly stood up to the president on his national security policy.

About Syria the president said soon the ISIS Caliphate will be completely destroyed and Washington to watch the happenings closely and so it is the right time to start withdrawing troops.

Asked by NPR whether the measures should be taken as a rebuke of the president, here's what Risch said.

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Rather, Democrats approved a bill providing funds for more border patrol agents, drones, sensors and other equipment and measures. Customs and Border Protection to hire 1,000 more customs agents, and $400 million for buying and deploying security technology.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., argued in support of the amendment on the Senate floor, saying Trump's withdrawal announcement has already undermined U.S. credibility in the region. "This amendment in no way authorizes US forces to remain in Syria or Afghanistan permanently, nor does it alter the existing authorizations in place since 2001". Days earlier, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, missed the vote but said he was against it.

A final vote on the amendment could come next week. The measure was attached to a broader Mideast policy bill that the Senate is still debating.

"We're involved in wars that are 6,000 miles away".

Still, the bill also includes an anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) amendment that may prove hard to pass in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. While Republican support for using emergency powers to build a wall was 20 points lower than for the wall overall, 67 percent of Republicans favored Trump taking emergency action, including a majority who supported this "strongly".

Opponents say Rubio's measure infringes on free speech.

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