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Alison Lundergan Grimes Voices Opposition to Islamic State Plan

Alison Lundergan Grimes
Alix Mattingly/WFPL News
Alison Lundergan Grimes
Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Alix Mattingly/WFPL News
Alison Lundergan Grimes

Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes said Thursday she would vote against arming and training Syrian forces combating the Islamic State.

The Senate is scheduled to take up a vote on the measure this afternoon, which passed through the House on Wednesday by a273-156 tally.

An amendment attached to the federal spending bill would allow President Obama to provide aid against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is also referred to as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Grimes said in a campaign statement she backs military action but could not support the measure until trust between the U.S. and Syrian rebels is clearly established.

"While the president should have offered the American people a credible plan to destroy ISIS much earlier, I am supportive of taking strong military action to hunt down the terrorists that have killed American journalists," she said.

"However, I remain opposed to the use of American ground forces and would only vote for arming and training Syrians if there is compelling evidence that they are trustworthy and effective. We must work to build a broad coalition, that includes our allies in the region, to provide ground support and share responsibility and cost for defeating ISIS."

Grimes campaign aides told the Associated Press she would oppose the ISIL measure if it were a stand alone vote, but would back the amendment since it is attached to the must-pass spending bill.

Grimes’ objections reflect what many war-weary lawmakers expressed during Wednesday’s debate on the House floor.

Four members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation, including Democrat John Yarmuth of Louisville, supported the ISIL amendment. Republican Congressman Thomas Massie and Ed Whitfield voted against the proposal.

Grimes’ opponent, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, backed the president’s strategy a week ago.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell said he understands Democratic and Republican lawmakers have concerns with the proposal, but it is worth supporting.

“While I’m concerned about the ability of the coalition to generate sufficient combat power to defeat ISIL within Syria, I support the president’s proposal to begin this program,” said McConnell.” “The authorization is of limited duration, and it now contains some important reporting requirements that will allow Congress to assess and oversee this program to measure whether the mission is being accomplished.”

Copyright 2014 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.