Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 1, 2014

Obama to Meet With Senate Democrats Tuesday on Syria

President Barack Obama will travel to the Hill on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Syria with Senate Democrats, a Senate Democratic aide confirmed Sunday.

The administration has been working in overdrive to build a compelling case to lawmakers for intervention in the war-torn country in the days since announcing the president would seek congressional authorization for military action. The Senate vote for authorization faces a 60-vote threshold, and it’s unclear whether there are enough members in support of intervention to clear that hurdle. Senate Democrats — several of whom have said already they cannot support military action in Syria — could be key in providing Obama at least one chamber of support, especially as House Republicans look poised to defect from an authorization resolution en masse.

A senior Senate Republican aide said Sunday evening that leadership had not yet heard anything from the White House about a potential meeting Tuesday with the GOP.

A rebuff of an authorization resolution in the chamber controlled by his own party would be embarrassing for the president, much like a recent British parliament vote that rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s request for military engagement. Though Obama likely could move forward with force in some capacity without a congressional vote of confidence, now that he’s asked for it, proceeding without it could be even more politically perilous than had he not asked at all.

That Obama is coming to the Hill himself, after top officials like Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made multiple appearances before lawmakers last week — in multiple closed-door, classified briefings and open hearings — shows just how important the White House believes this is and how much they recognize that military engagement of any kind in Syria is a tough sell.

  • 57nomad

    The whole ‘red line’ business strikes the country as strangely odd for this reason. These are existential lessons American men learn on the school yard but of which the American president seems to be oblivious. Consequently, this creepy, unconfident undertone of the whole enterprise, one that seems doomed to fail because it has failed already and failed beyond repair.

    If Assad did as Obama claimed, the time is well past the required interval to respond in order to preserve one’s honor. And make no mistake about it, what Obama has lost his is not his credibility, that was gone for good when he covered for Eric Holder with executive privilege over fast and furious. No what Obama lost was his honor. It is gone. He didn’t do much for the honor of our country, either.

    After daring Assad to step across, Obama had no answer when Assad obliged him. He didn’t even have a plan. After a year, a whole year from the time the line was drawn, when the showdown came, Obama was nowhere in sight and after a year had no response prepared. What could he have been thinking, to make a dare and then not even prepare a response in case the line is crossed?

    This enterprise seemed to get cobbled together only after the laughter and contempt his adversaries abroad and the people at home began to register with Obama and his crew. It seems to cobbled together, not to support a broader policy, a mature, well thought out policy, but solely for Obama to extricate himself from a humiliating embarrassment. The whole thing is getting creepier by the day because of this. Someone, some member of congress needs to ask, explicitly ask, whose interest is served; the nation’s or Obama’s?

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