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Reid Sets First Test Vote on Syria for Wednesday

Ethan Miller/Getty Images)UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is delaying the first vote on Syria.

"I'm not going to file cloture this evening on the motion to proceed to the Syria resolution,” he said on the Senate floor.

“Before we vote, I want to make sure the President has an opportunity to present his case to the Senate and the American people,” Reid tweeted.


(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Monday that the first procedural vote, not the final one, on the use of military force against Syria will occur “sometime” Wednesday.

“The Senate will give this matter the serious attention that it deserves,” Reid said on the Senate floor Monday.

Reid also said senators will receive a classified briefing from senior administration officials on Wednesday. A Democratic aide said the briefing team will include National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, DNI Gen. James Clapper, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Reid, who supports the U.S. taking military action against Syria, laid out his case for supporting the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution.

“These weapons don't just pose a threat to the Syrian people or to our allies in the region. They pose a threat to every one of us, every American, and in particular, every member of the United States armed forces,” Reid said. “America's willingness to stand for what is right should not end at its borders.”

“Sitting on the sidelines won't make us a better nation tomorrow,” he added.

Quoting from Dante’s Inferno, Reid said, “’The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.’”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who normally speaks after the majority leader at the opening of a session, did not appear on the Senate floor. Instead, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., spoke after Reid and said he remains undecided until President Obama addresses the nation Tuesday evening.

Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened Monday’s session by offering a prayer for the senators to receive spiritual guidance on the upcoming Syria vote.

“Lord we acknowledge that unless you guard our nation, our efforts to find security are futile.  Today illuminate the minds of our senators with the light of your insights enabling them to act decisively.  As they anticipate the forces that threaten freedom in our world, lead them on the path that will bring life, liberty and joy,” Black said.

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