Senate leadership will ultimately need to muster 60 votes to pass the resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria, as the measure will be treated like any other resolution and will also be subject to a potential filibuster.
Some reports have speculated that under the War Powers Act, the Syria war resolution could be brought to the Senate floor under special circumstances with only limited debate and requiring only a simple majority to pass. But Senate leadership has decided to treat the Syria war authorization, approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 10–7 Wednesday afternoon, like any other joint resolution. This means that it will be subject to a cloture motion, which requires 60 votes to pass, except in the unlikely event that all 100 senators give unanimous consent to move directly to a final vote.
“This joint resolution will be treated like any other joint resolution,” a Senate Democratic leadership aide tells The Daily Beast. “That means we’ll have to move to proceed to the measure, and without consent it could face a 60-vote cloture vote on the motion to proceed.”
Final passage of the resolution will require only 50 votes, as with all legislation, but to get to the final vote, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (R-NV) will have to corral 60 senators. Democrats currently have a 54–46 majority in the Senate. Three Republicans: Bob Corker (R-TN), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted for the measure Wednesday in committee while two Democrats, Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tom Udall (D-NM), voted against. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) voted present.
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