Congress' top Republicans praise Obama on Syria - New York News

Congress' top Republicans praise Obama on Syria

Posted: Updated:

LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leading congressional Republicans praised President Barack Obama's decision to seek lawmakers' approval before punishing Syria for a chemical attack. But it was far from clear whether they would support such a strike in a region rife with warfare and the specter of retaliation.

"I do believe (Syria) should not have impunity," for the Aug. 21 attack near Damascus, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said by telephone. "But we need to understand what the whole scope of consequences is. What the president may perceive as limited...won't stop there."

The White House was expected to brief members of Congress throughout the weekend, part of what's certain to be a full-court press to persuade lawmakers to sign off on what Obama described as a narrowly-focused operation that could be carried out anytime over the next few weeks.

Obama's decision to consult Congress came after lawmakers widely demanded he seek authorization under the War Powers Act. The specter of the Iraq war hovered too, with lawmakers skittish over the Bush administration's claim — later disproved — that Saddam Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction.

"And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote," Obama said Saturday. "And in doing so, I ask you, members of Congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment."

Secretary of State John Kerry said the chemical weapons attack killed 1,429 people, of which he said 426 were children.

For now, many lawmakers were praising Obama for putting the question to Congress. But it is not expected to act until the House returns from recess Sept. 9.

"Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress," said House Speaker John Boehner in a statement. Boehner, who is second in line to the presidency, said his chamber would consider the question the week of Sept. 9.

"We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised," he said.

"The President's role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress," agreed the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Rep. Peter King, however, said Obama was abdicating his role as commander-in-chief. King, R-N.Y., suggested the president was undermining the authorities of future presidents and seeking a political shield for himself by going through Congress.

"President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents. The President does not need Congress to authorize a strike on Syria. If Assad's use of chemical weapons against civilians deserves a military response, and I believe it does, and if the President is seeking congressional approval, then he should call Congress back into a special session at the earliest date. The President doesn't need 535 Members of Congress to enforce his own redline."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Contract talks in Met Opera labor dispute extended

    Contract talks in Met Opera labor dispute extended

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:55 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:55:06 GMT
    A federal mediator is on her way to New York to try to resolve a labor faceoff at New York's Metropolitan Opera.
    New York's Metropolitan Opera says labor talks with its unions have been extended for an additional 72 hours, averting a threatened midnight lockout.
  • New York's smallest piece of private land

    New York's smallest piece of private land

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:45:15 GMT
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
  • Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:26:44 GMT
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices