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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora