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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid