House Speaker John Boehner plans to vote to approve a measure authorizing U.S. military action against Syria, the Ohio Republican said after a meeting with President Barack Obama in the White House Tuesday.
“This is something that the United States and the country need to do. I’m going to support the president’s call for action,” Boehner said after the meeting with the president and other congressional leaders. "I believe that my colleagues should support this call for action."
In response to reports showing what the United States says is strong evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical attack that killed more than 1,000 civilians in August, Obama on Saturday said he would seek approval for a “limited” military strike in the region.
In a statement Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also said he would support Obama's call for action.
"I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria," Cantor said. "While the authorizing language will likely change, the underlying reality will not. America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States."
With the top Republicans in the House on board with Obama's plan, the challenge now turns to the rest of the conference, where some lawmakers are hesitant about approving a strike.
Leaders in both the House and Senate are scheduling a debate and votes on the authorization measure on the week of Sept. 9. Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee plan to hold public and classified hearings this week to prepare for the vote.