News / USA

    US Congress Action on Syria on Hold for Now

    President Barack Obama arrives on Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Democrats and Republicans on Syria, Sept. 10, 2013.
    President Barack Obama arrives on Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Democrats and Republicans on Syria, Sept. 10, 2013.
    Michael Bowman
    Hours before U.S. President Barack Obama was to address the nation on the need to confront Syria’s use of chemical weapons, he met with senators of both major political parties on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers emerged saying a vote authorizing the use of force against Syria is unlikely for now, and any final resolution will take international diplomatic developments into account.

    President Obama had little to say after meeting separately with Democratic and Republican senators.

    “It was a good conversation. Thank you very much," said President Obama.

    Late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed a vote on a resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria - a measure approved last week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The committee’s top Republican, Senator Bob Corker, helped craft the resolution, but now says it is on hold pending a Russian proposal for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons.

    “I would be very surprised to see any vote on the Senate floor in the short term. I think our best course of action is to pause, to understand whether this [Russian proposal] is credible or not," said Corker.

    Democratic Senator Richard Durbin said President Obama is not overly optimistic that diplomacy can end the Syrian crisis, but is willing to pursue non-military avenues.

    “What he has basically asked is for some time to work this out - a matter of days, into next week. And I think that is reasonable," said Durbin.

    Majority Leader Reid decides what measures are brought to the Senate floor and when.

    “It is important we do this well, not quickly. If something can be done diplomatically, I am totally satisfied with that," said Reid.

    The wait-and-see approach constitutes a dramatic shift from last week, when the Obama administration and some of its allies on Capitol Hill warned of grave consequences if Congress failed to promptly authorize military strikes against Syria. Since then, a growing number of lawmakers of both parties have gone on record opposing the use of force.

    A small group of senators has proposed an alternative resolution that does not rule out military action, but gives 45 days for Syria to hand over chemical weapons.

    Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a House panel that “for this diplomatic option to have a chance at succeeding, the credible, real threat of U.S. military action must continue.''

    Senator Corker agreed.

    “The authorization of military force absolutely needs to remain on the table. Otherwise I do not think these negotiations will go anywhere," he said.

    Polls show Americans overwhelmingly oppose military intervention in Syria, a fact that has weighed heavily on congressional deliberations to date.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City, NJ
    September 11, 2013 4:13 AM
    During the Bush Administration Mr.Obama was one of those who opposed President Bush for war that has no proof of WMD, Now there are proof that Assad used chemical weapon on the people of Syria, especially the kids. What is Mr. Obama position in this matter? Secondly to the Anti War people, when Assad used chemical weapon on those kids, why your did not opposed him? We need justice for those kids and the Syrian people. Assad must be held accountable for his action. He is a war criminal. This is shame to the UN, the EU, and the so called world leaders. Mr. Obama was just bluffing, He is not man of his war. he scare of Assad, Iran and Russia.

    by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
    September 10, 2013 6:07 PM
    If Obama is the smartest person in the room as is suggested elsewhere, I wonder what to make kf the rest lf the world! This sudden turn of events is not Obama's strategy. He was forced into it. I hope he has the wisdom to take advantage of the unexpected turn of events. When we have idiots like Reid, Polosi and Bohener, we could certainly use smart people in the room. Under the threat of military action, no sane person will agree to give up anything. For a powerful country like ours, we don't need explicit threat, as it is always going to be there. Obama does not need a rain check from Congress, but some honest feedback from the average Joe.
    In Response

    by: Nguyễn from: US
    September 11, 2013 9:05 AM
    Senator Corker refused to tie the hands of Supreme Leader of US armed forces. The rain check from Congress would make Obama's voice much stronger internationally, would make a little easier and faster for American to pacify the world.

    by: Anonymous
    September 10, 2013 5:48 PM
    Alternatives:
    Clamp down and secure chemical weapons immediatly before some crazies get ahold of them.

    Order a cease fire on assads side.

    Then force a democratic election in Syria hosted by the international community. This should satisfy the Syrians.

    by: Nguyễn from: US
    September 10, 2013 2:21 PM
    Military strike should'nt be the first choice but Obama still needs a raincheck from Congress to do so.
    In Response

    by: John Rively from: Logan, UT 84321
    September 10, 2013 10:00 PM
    The Anglo-American term is indirect war, Basil Liddel-Hart the fm r WW1 British Army officer who wrote STRATEGY. This is the revered text of war. He developed the Theory of Armored Warfare. The only strategic concern of/in Syria is the control of the WMD. These weapons have Tel Aviv's attention to be sure. John Rively
    In Response

    by: Valerie Martin
    September 10, 2013 3:12 PM
    As a war weary American, I respect the POTUS attempts to solve this issue w/o military action! He really is, always, the smartest person in the room.

    President Obama is a student of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
    ~ Sun Tzu~

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.