WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a measure that would allow the President to use force against Syria. The resolution now heads to the Senate for a full vote next week. It would limit strikes to 60 days, with the possibility of a 30 day extension and prohibit the use of ground troops.
The vote came as top Obama administration officials were grilled by lawmakers at a House Foreign Affairs Hearing.
"We're talking about people being killed by gas and you want to talk about Benghazi and Fast and Furious," said John Kerry, Secretary of State.
"Absolutely want to talk about Benghazi. Four Americans lost their lives. I have sympathy for the people in Syria. And I do think there should be a worldwide response, but we should act cautiously," said North Carolina Representative Jeff Duncan.
The tense exchange highlights the uphill battle the Administration faces in the lower chamber from both Republicans and Democrats. Some members question whether the opposition forces are worth supporting.
"The majority now of these rebel forces now are radical Islamists pouring in from over the world," said Texas Representative Michael McCaul.
Kerry said, "I just don't agree that the majority are al Qaeda and the bad guys. That's not true."
Others worry the U.S. doesn't have enough allies willing to pitch in.
"One would think that more countries would join the U.S. in participating, not supporting, participating in a military strike against Syria," said Representative Brian Higgins.
Kerry insists the support is there.
"We have more volunteers than we can use for this kind of operation," Kerry said.
The operation, supporters say, is critical to the country's long-term security interests.
"If we do not pass the authorization measure, what message will Assad get, what message will Iran receive?" asked New York Representative Eliot Engel.
The administration will continue its effort to persuade lawmakers, when it holds a closed door meeting with lawmakers on Thursday.