That’s how many current members of the Senate were serving in the chamber when it voted 14½ years ago to authorize bombing against Serbian targets in Kosovo.
In March 1999, the Senate voted 58-41 to authorize President Bill Clinton to conduct airstrikes in cooperation with NATO in an effort to force Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end the repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The resolution was backed by 42 Democrats and 16 Republicans and opposed by three Democrats and 38 Republicans.
The 28 senators broke 20 to 7 in favor of the resolution, with Democrats 16 to 0 in favor and Republicans 4 to 7 against. Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran didn’t vote. Senators who voted yes included Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who’s now the majority leader, and Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who’s the minority leader and is seeking re-election next year.
The Senate next week will take up a resolution that would give President Barack Obama a “limited window to conduct a military operation” in Syria “to conduct a military operation in response to what the U.S. says was the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians outside Damascus last month,” Bloomberg News reported yesterday.
On a 10-7 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday approved the resolution, which backs the use of force in a “limited and specified manner against legitimate military targets” during a 60-day period following enactment. Obama could extend the authorization for a single 30-day period.
Among those urging approval of the resolution were Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who voted for the Kosovo resolution in 1999 as senators.