The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution Wednesday 10 to 7 to strike Syria with limited military force.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., voted present.
The resolution, which allows the president to intercede in Syria for up to 90 days, will now head to the Senate floor for a vote next week.
The vote jostled party lines. For Republicans, old-guard defense hawks like ranking member Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., supported the measure and the anti-interventionist wing of the party represented by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted against it. Democrats were divided as well with Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., saying "no" and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. voting 'yes.'
The resolution hung in the balance for hours and almost died in committee after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced Wednesday that he could not adopt the resolution because it did not adequately funnel resources to Syrian rebels.
In the last hour, McCain and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., worked out a bipartisan compromise that quelled McCain's concerns and won back his vote.
There is still a long negotiation ahead though.
The American people, as well as Congress, are still strongly divided on the issue.
Polling reveals that nearly 60 percent of Americans are opposed to any military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons and killing 1,400 of his own people.
In the Senate, the members' positions are evolving, but many are still not overwhelmingly pushing for action.
According to the Washington Post's vote counter, 62 senators are still undecided and only 18, seven Republicans and 11 Democrats, have come out in support of intervention.