Lawmakers Welcome President Asking For Their OK On Syria

Aug 31, 2013
Originally published on August 31, 2013 2:10 pm

(This post last updated at 4:10 p.m. ET)

Lawmakers, many of whom had urged President Obama to seek authority from Congress before going ahead with a military strike against Syria, were largely positive about his decision to do just that.

The president, in a Rose Garden address on Saturday, said that the U.S. should respond militarily to Syria's Aug. 21 chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people, but that he would first seek authorization from Congress.

House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders issued a statement saying they had consulted with the president on Saturday and "we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th. This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the president's role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he has the support of lawmakers.

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham said they could not support isolated military strikes without a wider strategy.

"We cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the president's stated goal of (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad's removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict, which is a growing threat to our national security interests," they said in a statement.

New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel told CNN that asking Congress for an OK to use force was "the constitutional thing to do" but "I still don't see how our country is threatened."

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