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In an interview with Mike Allen for "Axios on HBO," Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said he learned about President Trump's abandonment of the Kurds through the president's Twitter, despite sitting on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The big picture: Romney has joined a number of Republicans in condemning the president's withdrawal of troops from northern Syria, as well as Trump's portrayal of a temporary ceasefire as a victory. In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor last week, Romney said the withdrawal "will stand as a blood stain in the annals of American history."

  • In a cross-party, 354-60 vote last week, the House condemned the withdrawal. The ceasefire is also set to last only five days, and it's meant to give room for the Kurds to escape the area to avoid further clashes with Turkish-backed forces.

What they're saying: Romney noted that he learned of the move on Twitter, "like most folks." In response, Allen asked him:

  • "What's the point of even having a Foreign Relations Committee?"

Romney's response:

"Well, that's increasingly a good question. We do have a Foreign Relations Committee where people are able to deal with some of these questions — consider what's in America's best interest long term. And if that's not gonna be welcome or accepted, why — you ask a good question, which is: Why do we even have it?"
— Romney to "Axios on HBO"

Romney added that withdrawing U.S. troops without notifying the committee was particularly surprising to him because "this is an area of Syria in particular [the committee has] been focused on."

Go deeper

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The Democrats' debt dilemma

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats find themselves in a political and potentially catastrophic economic quagmire as Republicans stand firm on denying them any help in raising the federal debt ceiling.

Why it matters: The Democrats are technically right — the debt comes, in part, from past spending by President Trump and his predecessors, not only President Biden's new big-ticket programs. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is saddling them with the public relations challenge of making that distinction during next year's crucial midterms.

Pelosi's endgame

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears at a news conference on Tuesday. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) began her infrastructure endgame Tuesday, pressuring centrists to ultimately support as much social spending as possible while pleading with progressives to pass the roads-and-bridges package preceding it.

Why it matters: Neither group can achieve what it wants without the other, their ultimatums be damned. The leaders of both acknowledged the speaker's unique gift for pulling off a deal after separate conversations with Democratic leaders.