CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, the House will begin consideration of an amendment submitted by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to H.J.Res. 124, Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015. The rule for H.Res. 124 provides for six hours of debate on the amendment.
As requested by the President, the amendment would authorize the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals.
Additionally, the amendment would strengthen congressional oversight by requiring detailed reports, including progress reports, on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment. It would also require the President to report on how this authority fits within a larger regional strategy.
While this amendment does not authorize additional funds, it would allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to submit a reprogramming request to Congress should the President request DOD funds to execute this authority and permit the Secretary of Defense to accept foreign contributions.
Lastly, the amendment would state that nothing in this section be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.
“The [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria since 2013, threatening the security of both countries and drawing increased attention from the international community.” In a September 10, 2014 statement to the nation, President Obama set forth a multi-part plan to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIL. The President requested that Congress provide “additional authorities and resources to train and equip” vetted elements of the Syrian opposition, for the purpose of “strengthen[ing] the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL . . . .” Chairman McKeon’s amendment provides such authority through the earlier of the expiration of the continuing resolution or enactment of the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act.
 Kenneth Katzman, Christopher M. Blanchard, Carla E. Humud, etc., The “Islamic State” Crsis and U.S. Policy, Congressional Research Service (Sep. 15, 2014) at Summary.
 Statement by the President on ISIL (Sep. 10, 2014).
An informal estimate from the CBO indicates that this amendment will have no cost.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.