News / USA

US Congress Divided on Syria Despite Administration Case for Action

US Lawmakers Divided on Syria Despite Administration's Case for Actioni
X
September 02, 2013 12:22 AM
The Obama administration is pressing its case for congressional authorization of military action against Syria, with Secretary of State John Kerry taking to the airwaves before officials briefed lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Washington is far from unified on the wisdom, much less the timing, of strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
US Lawmakers Divided on Syria Despite Administration's Case for Action
Michael Bowman
U.S. lawmakers say they are far from unified on whether to vote for military strikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Legislators spoke after receiving a classified briefing on Syria from administration officials.

The full Congress does not return from recess until September 9. But several dozen lawmakers scrambled to get to Washington in time for Sunday’s closed-door briefing at the Capitol, in which the administration presented its case for intervention in Syria.

Afterwards, several lawmakers said they are convinced that chemical weapons were used. But questions remain, according to Democratic Congresswoman Janice Hahn. “Is this a reason to go to war? What are the objectives of going to war? What authorization are we actually giving our president?”

Hahn said the United States should not have to act alone. “Where is the international community," she said, "if this is such an outrage, if this is so abhorrent to everyone?”

Republican Congressman Scott Rigell praised the president’s decision to seek congressional approval, but said he is a “no” vote for now. “I am a ‘no’ because the clarity of where all of this goes, the definition of accomplishing the mission - that is still unclear to me," he said.

By contrast, Democratic Representative Sandy Levin backs military intervention in Syria. “I have confidence that members of Congress will step up to the plate [vote yes]. Because if we do nothing, it sends a very wrong message," he said.

On Saturday, President Obama said he does not need Congress’ permission to order a strike, but nevertheless wants the backing of the nation’s representatives in Washington.

Before Sunday’s classified briefing, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on multiple U.S. television programs to present what the administration has learned about last month’s deadly attacks on civilians in and around Damascus.

“Hair and blood samples that have come to us from individuals who were engaged as first responders in east Damascus - I can report to you today they have tested positive for signatures of sarin (the deadly nerve gas)," he said.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Kerry defended Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for military action. “We do not lose anything. We actually gain. And what we gain is the legitimacy of the full-throated response of the Congress of the United States and the president acting together after our democratic process has worked properly," he said.

Kerry said U.S. inaction would have the effect of “granting impunity to a ruthless dictator to continue to gas his people.”

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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