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Sep 9, 2013

Russian proposal complicates U.S. Syria strike debate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, struggling to gain support for U.S. military action in Syria, called Russia’s proposal on Monday to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control a “potentially positive” move that should be viewed skeptically.

Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid pushed back a Senate test vote on whether to authorize military strikes against Syria that had been scheduled for Wednesday as lawmakers evaluate the Russian plan. The vote is still expected this week.

Sep 7, 2013

Big question on Syria vote: What will Senate Republican leader do?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – What will Mitch do?

That’s a big question in the U.S. Capitol, where so far Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is the only one of the “Big Four” congressional leaders who has not backed President Barack Obama’s call for military strikes against Syria.

What McConnell will do is an even bigger question back home in Kentucky, where he is in a tough re-election campaign and under fire on this and other issues from the political right and left.

Sep 6, 2013

Obama’s plan on Syria hinges on undecided U.S. lawmakers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fate of a congressional resolution to authorize President Barack Obama’s planned military strikes on Syria hinged on Thursday on scores of undecided U.S. lawmakers, with party loyalty appearing increasingly irrelevant.

Even after congressional hearings featuring Obama’s secretaries of state and defense, a half dozen closed-door briefings and phone calls from Obama himself, it was too close to call on whether Congress will authorize military force.

Sep 5, 2013

Obama’s plan on Syria hinges on ‘undecideds’ in Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fate of a U.S. congressional resolution to authorize a military strike against Syria is in the hands of dozens of lawmakers from both parties who are so far publicly undecided on how they will vote.

With many Democrats non-committal, it could come down to President Barack Obama’s ability to persuade normally loyal liberals in his own party to stick with him.

Sep 4, 2013

Red-stained hands wave in protest at U.S. hearing on Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Red-stained hands of anti-war protesters waved sporadically for hours on Wednesday behind Obama administration officials urging lawmakers to authorize military strikes against Syria.

The silent demonstration, led by the anti-war group Code Pink, involved about 10 activists. But an untold number of people worldwide saw it because the protest took place during a televised congressional hearing.

Sep 3, 2013

As Obama pushes to punish Syria, lawmakers fear deep U.S. involvement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s efforts to persuade the U.S. Congress to back his plan to attack Syria met with skepticism on Monday from lawmakers in his own Democratic Party who expressed concern the United States would be dragged into a new Middle East conflict.

“There is a lot of skepticism,” said Representative Jim Moran after taking part in a 70-minute phone briefing for Democratic lawmakers by Obama’s top national security aides about the response to a chemical weapons attack that U.S. officials say killed 1,429 people on the outskirts of Damascus.

Sep 1, 2013

Scornful Syria hails “historic American retreat” as Obama hesitates

BEIRUT/WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Syria hailed a
“historic American retreat” on Sunday, mockingly accusing
President Barack Obama of hesitation and confusion after he
delayed a military response to last month’s chemical weapons
attack near Damascus to consult Congress.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said tests had shown
sarin nerve gas was fired on rebel-held areas on Aug. 21, and
expressed confidence that U.S. lawmakers would do “what is
right” in response.

Sep 1, 2013

Building case for lawmakers, U.S. says sarin gas used in Syria attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday tests showed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly August 21 chemical attack near Damascus as he sought to build the case to convince skeptical lawmakers to authorize a military strike against the Syrian government.

Kerry made the disclosure in a series of television interviews a day after President Barack Obama delayed imminent military action in Syria to seek approval first from the U.S. Congress – a decision that puts any strike on hold for at least nine days.

Sep 1, 2013

Syria hails ‘historic American retreat’ as Obama hesitates

BEIRUT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Syria hailed an “historic American retreat” on Sunday, mockingly accusing President Barack Obama of hesitation and confusion after he delayed a military strike to consult Congress.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said tests showed Damascus had used using deadly sarin gas in a chemical weapons attack, and expressed confidence that Congress would do “what is right” in deciding on a response.

Aug 30, 2013

White House gives Congress new evidence of chemical arms use in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Thursday gave American lawmakers what it called fresh evidence that Syria’s government was behind a chemical weapons attack, but faced strong resistance to military action from both U.S. political parties and a stinging rejection from Britain, a key ally.

During a conference call at the end of a difficult day for the White House, U.S. officials told members of Congress there was “no doubt” that chemical weapons were used in Syria last week. Obama aides cited intercepted communications of Syrian officials and evidence of movements by Syria’s military around Damascus before the attack that killed more than 300 people, said U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

    • About Thomas

      "Thomas Ferraro joined Reuters in 1998; he has helped cover a number of presidential campaigns and is a veteran of Capitol Hill where he has seen Democratic and Republican majorities rise and fall. He has also covered a number of Supreme Court confirmation battles, including those of four nominees now on the highest U.S. court."
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