The White House is working with Congressional leaders to shape a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a “clear message” to President Bashar Assad and cripple the Syrian leader’s “capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future,” President Obama said Tuesday.
Sitting with congressional leaders from both major parties, the president also said he is confident lawmakers are “going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark.”
While Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told NPR earlier in the day that he believes the president is leaning toward missile strikes that would also influence the course of Syria’s civil war and effectively assist Assad’s foes, President Obama did not go that far in his comments. The White House has previously said it is not seeking “regime change” in Syria, though it does want to see Assad step down.
On Saturday, President Obama said that while he believes he has the authority to strike Syria, he would seek congressional authorization. Lawmakers began considering his request Tuesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a “top secret/closed” session this morning. Later, at 2:30 p.m. ET., the committee plans to hold an open hearing. Set to testify: Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
As for the prospects of getting congressional approval of military action, Politico writes that “the Democrat-controlled Senate likely offers a far easier path to passage for Obama on the Syria resolution than the GOP-run House, where dozens of members on both sides of the aisle have either come out in opposition to Obama’s call for military strikes against Syria or look like they could so.”
The House is not due back from its summer recess until Monday.