News / USA

Obama Appeals to Wary Lawmakers on Syria

Obama Appeals to Wary Lawmakers on Syriai
X
September 06, 2013
As members of Congress return to Washington from their summer recess, President Barack Obama is lobbying skeptical lawmakers for the authority to use military force against Syria as a response to chemical attacks. With large numbers of both Republicans and Democrats saying they don't want the U.S. to get involved in another war, the wording of an authorization could be critical in efforts to win the support the president needs. VOA’s Cindy Saine reports from Capitol Hill.

Obama Appeals to Wary Lawmakers on Syria

TEXT SIZE - +
Cindy Saine
— As members of Congress return to Washington from their summer recess, President Barack Obama is lobbying skeptical lawmakers for the authority to use military force against Syria as a response to chemical attacks. With large numbers of both Republicans and Democratics saying they don't want the U.S. to get involved in another war, the wording of an authorization could be critical in efforts to win the support the president needs.

President Obama is facing a hard sell and experts say if the vote on Syria were held today it would fail in the House of Representatives.

Obama has said it's his job to make his case to the American people. He conceded, though, during a news conference Friday, his efforts could fail.

"And it's conceivable that at the end of the day I don't persuade a majority of the American people that it's the right thing to do. And then each member of Congress is going to have to decide, ‘if I think it is the right thing to do for America’s national security, the world’s national security, then how do I vote.”

Anti-war sentiment

Lawmakers, even those who support military action, say their offices are being flooded with anti-war telephone calls.

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein said, “There's no question what's coming in is overwhelmingly negative”.

At a town hall meeting in Arizona, Senator John McCain, a vocal supporter of military action, faced an angry crowd.

“I don’t say no. I say hell no,” said one Arizona voter.

Experts say the coming days will be critical. Congressional scholar Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution said, “Majority support is not yet in sight in the House. In fact, many people are betting against a majority ever materializing. There is going to be a lot of work, a lot of negotiations between the parties.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a draft resolution with the goal of degrading Syria's military capacity so a negotiated settlement of the war becomes more likely.  

Varying resolutions

On the House side, two Democrats have drafted a narrower resolution that would limit the goal to deterring repeat uses of chemical weapons in Syria.

Congressman Gerry Connolly said his resolution “... actually codifies what the president has said he wishes to accomplish and codifies no boots on the ground, trying to make sure that we stay focused on the issue.”

Mann of Brookings said a final resolution will bar boots on the ground. “But how you define the objectives is going to have a bearing on how different factions in the Senate decide whether to support.”  

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid formally introduced a resolution Friday on the Senate floor, paving the way for possible votes next week.  

The president addresses the nation Tuesday night.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid