WASHINGTON -- New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, confronting the biggest international crisis so far in his time as Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, introduced a bill Monday that would provide for arming Syrian opposition groups fighting against president Bashar al-Assad.
"The Assad regime has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options," Menendez, a Democrat, said in a news release. "The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the U.S. must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free Syria.”
Menendez's bill would give the Obama administration authority to provide arms, training and non-lethal supplies to vetted Syrian opposition groups. It would also create a $250 million transition fund for a post-Assad Syria.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey also has a deep interest in the issue as chairman of the foreign relations subcommittee that handles near Eastern affairs.