Obama a Day Away from Missing Congressional Deadline for Syria Plan
President Obama faces a congressional deadline tomorrow to deliver a plan on dealing with the crisis in Syria, and there are no signs that the administration is going to meet it.
A bipartisan resolution passed the Senate by unanimous consent on April 3 -- introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and co-sponsored by lawmakers as diverse as Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) -- "expressing the sense of the Senate concerning the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries, resulting humanitarian and development challenges, and the urgent need for a political solution to the crisis."
The resolution noted that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the time had registered more than 2,500,000 Syrian refugees, nearly 80 percent of whom are women and children, and by the end of this year the United Nations estimates the number of refugees will increase to 4,000,000.
"Nearly 500,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict are children under the age of five, and more than 11,000 children have been killed and thousands more have suffered severe injuries, including burns, shrapnel wounds, the severing of limbs, and spinal cord injuries."
It stressed that "70 percent of Syria's health professionals, up to 80,000 people, have fled the country, cases of typhoid, tuberculosis, polio and other diseases are rampant and increasing, and medical personnel inside Syria are deliberately targeted by parties to the conflict."
While calling on the international community to step in and condemning the violence that has wracked the country for more than three years, the resolution concluded by calling on Obama "to develop and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress within 90 days from adoption of this resolution a strategy for United States engagement in addressing the Syrian humanitarian crisis, to include assistance and development, and protecting human rights inside Syria and in the region."
As Oxfam notes in its countdown clock, his 90-day window runs out tomorrow.
"Since 2011, the fighting that has devastated Syria has driven nearly 10 million people from their homes. Close to 2.8 million—more than half of whom are children—have fled to neighboring countries. Syria’s people, and those who are giving them refuge, desperately need help to meet their basic needs for food, clean water, shelter, and medical care. The US has been generous with humanitarian aid for those affected by the conflict; however, the Obama Administration has not yet delivered a plan for how to address and end this crisis," the aid organization notes.
"In a rare showing of bipartisan unity, the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution in April calling on President Obama to deliver to Congress a strategy for how the US can address the crisis that is now destroying so many lives. Will President Obama meet the July 2 deadline requested by the Senate?"