House won't return early to debate Syria attack authorization

Chris Moody
Yahoo NewsAugust 31, 2013
House won't return early to debate Syria attack authorization

House leaders do not intend to call lawmakers back to Washington early to debate a measure to authorize using military force against Syria, House Republican leaders said Saturday.

In a joint statement, House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris said they plan to consider an authorization measure Sept. 9, the original date scheduled for return on the congressional calendar.

“We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised. In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th,” they said after President Barack Obama announced he would seek authorization from Congress to launch a military strike against Syria. “This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people.”

House lawmakers have been on a multi-week summer recess since early August.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Obama on Saturday declared his intention to launch an attack on Syria, where the government is accused of using chemical weapons to kill more than 1,000 people in the country, that is “limited in duration and scope.”

In his remarks, Obama said that the U.S. military is prepared to launch the strike at any time, but that he would wait to consult Congress.

"I’m prepared to give that order, but having made my decision as commander in chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interest, I’m also mindful that I’m the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy," Obama said. "I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress."

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Saturday that members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would return early to conduct public and classified hearings on the situation in Syria this week. The rest of the chamber will reconvene next week to consider the authorization measure.

"This will provide ample time for a robust public debate, while ensuring that this critical issue receives a vote in a timely fashion," Reid said, adding that he supports a U.S. strike on Syria. "The decision to take military action is not one to be taken lightly, and this decision will receive the full and open debate it deserves."

This article has been updated.