Senate leader wants US troops to stay in Syria, Afghanistan

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The test vote likely means the amendment will be incorporated into the underlying Mideast policy bill, as NPR reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set social media alight on Wednesday after he described legislation to make Election Day a paid holiday for federal workers as a "power grab" by Democrats.

The Republican-led Senate delivered a strong - albeit non-binding - rebuke to President Trump Thursday over his decision to swiftly draw down troops in Afghanistan and Syria.

The popular democratic socialist politician has also sought to push forward a bill calling for an end to USA military support for the Saudi-led war against a Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebel group known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis in Yemen, but the measure has split Republicans, with McConnell and Rubio among those opposed.

It has no real impact on policy, but signifies the broad opposition even in Trump's own party to a rapid removal of USA troops from Syria, which Trump announced in December.

Hayes said everything in the bill would hurt McConnell.

"I believe the threats remain".

McConnell's amendment, which is nonbinding, would encourage cooperation between the White House and Congress to develop long-term strategies in both nations, "including a thorough accounting of the risks of withdrawing too hastily". "ISIS and Al Qaeda have yet to be defeated, and American national security interests require continued commitment to our mission there", he said, using another name for the Islamic State.

"This is being used against us right now, " Rubio said. "That's why this [troop withdrawals] is a very bad idea".

The vote comes amid growing push back from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill on the president's incessant criticisms of the US intelligence community. The conflict was the first of many operations to be launched as part of the overarching "War on Terror" targeting jihadis that would go on to gain influence in other countries such as Iraq following a 2003 US invasion, and later on in Libya and Syria in the wake of 2011 uprisings also sponsored by the USA and its allies.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he thinks Trump announced the withdrawals too abruptly, but the US has been in Afghanistan and Syria for too long. "What McConnell is saying is let's maintain the status quo, " he said.

"It's time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Syria, " Paul wrote in a tweet, saying he stands with Trump.

Earlier Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to Twitter to explain his amendment. That bill, which includes fresh sanctions on Syria and a measure combating the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, advanced in a procedural vote on Monday.

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