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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs