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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid