The Big Conversation
The quickly shifting debate over Syria has exposed a rift between U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
On Tuesday, as President Barack Obama continued his push for military action in Syria but acknowledged that focus had turned to a diplomatic solution involving Russia, Cruz's latest remarks on the situation appeared to have stirred tensions between the two conservative allies.
As The Dallas Morning News' Todd Gillman reports, Paul on Tuesday took issue with Cruz's recent suggestion that the U.S. should push the U.N. Security Council to vote on a measure denouncing the Syrian president for his use of chemical weapons. Though the measure would face resistance from China and Russia, two of Syria's strongest allies, the vote "would unify the world against the regime and expose China’s and Russia’s support for this tyrant," Cruz wrote in a Washington Post op-ed this week.
Paul, a Kentucky Republican who, like Cruz, opposes military intervention, said the U.S. should instead try to "get something the Russians and the Chinese can actually agree to."
"We’ve been at loggerheads because we do 'show votes' in the Security Council instead of working with Russia outside of the Security Council. … Instead of just putting up show votes, we need to figure out how to get a vote in the Security Council. That’s a test of true leadership."
Though Paul didn't mention Cruz by name, as the Morning News notes, the disagreement marked a rare split between the two Republicans and possible 2016 presidential foes, who appeared together at a Tea Party rally on Tuesday before attending a meeting with Obama and fellow Republican senators.
Obama, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that he had asked Congress to postpone a vote on the strike while the administration pursued the diplomatic alternative. Had a vote occurred this week, the White House — facing mounting opposition in both the House and Senate — would likely have lost.
Among Texans in the House, for instance, the number of members opposed to military action has risen to 19, while 15 remain undecided only one has expressed support, according to The New York Times' latest whip count.
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Quote to Note: "Are you willing to return your Nobel Peace Prize?" — U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, in a press release listing several questions for President Barack Obama on military action in Syria
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