News / USA

Obama Appeals to Wary Lawmakers on Syria

Obama Appeals to Wary Lawmakers on Syriai
X
September 06, 2013 11:22 PM
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
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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid