Obama Seeks Approval on Syrian Opposition Training Program

President Obama has asked Congress to authorize a training center in Saudi Arabia to prepare Syrian opposition fighters against ISIS attacks. At an American Enterprise Institute event Thursday, HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), said the President called up members of Congress late Tuesday to request the authorization be added to the budget continuing resolution, which was originally set to pass Thursday. The President requested $500 million to begin arming and training “vetted” elements of Syrian opposition forces in hopes of an ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, reported Politico. Saudi King Abdullah has offered to host the training center in his country. McKeon said he thinks the request is reasonable and Congress should be able to pass the measure with bipartisan support. “Given the seriousness of the situation, we would give him that authority to take advantage of [Abdullah’s] offer.” McKeon, however, realizes “sometimes things happen in Congress” and his thinking that the authorization should easily pass is not concrete. He noted that many in Congress are unconvinced, and still many others would rather wait until after the midterm elections to act. The “timeliness of all of this is very important,” he said, “but it’s a day-to-day thing.” (Transcript of McKeon’s Speech.)