- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
Congress takes steps toward strike on Syria; recess cut short for hearings
Kerry, Hagel to start pushing for support
Question of the Day
Congress’ role in approving military strikes kicks off Tuesday when Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will tell senators that the U.S. must strike at the Syrian regime to make clear that chemical weapons use will not be tolerated.
Sen. Robert C. Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the panel’s ranking Republican, announced the hearings after senators decided to use the final week of their summer recess to examine the case for action.
“The American people deserve to hear more from the administration about why military action in Syria is necessary, what it will achieve and how it will be sufficiently limited to keep the U.S. from being drawn further into the Syrian conflict,” Mr. Corker said in a statement.
The Tuesday hearing will be followed by a closed-door meeting Wednesday that the committee has labeled “top secret.” The witnesses for that hearing have not been announced.
House members also will hold hearings, with Rep. Edward R. Royce, California Republican and chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He said Monday that he would call Mr. Kerry before his committee Wednesday.
“The president’s proposed military response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime demands thorough and deliberate congressional consideration,” Mr. Royce said in a statement.
Emerging from a private briefing with President Obama at the White House on Monday afternoon, Sen. John McCain of Arizona warned that it would be “catastrophic” if Congress rejected the resolution.
Mr. McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, two of the leading Republican voices in the Senate on defense matters, met with Mr. Obama as part of a series of briefings with top lawmakers of both parties ahead of the votes.
“A vote against that resolution,” Mr. McCain said, “would undermine the credibility of the United States and of the president.”
Some lawmakers pushed to return to Capitol Hill early to begin debating and hold a vote immediately, but neither their leaders nor Mr. Obama believed the matter was that urgent. Mr. Obama said this weekend that strikes will be effective whether they are conducted now or in a month.
Given that, the hearing promises to be cordial, though lawmakers have said they want to press for answers to key questions about the administration’s evidence that chemical weapons were used and about Mr. Obama’s broader strategy.
Mr. Obama is likely to have a relatively easier time making his case to the Senate. A number of senators were pushing for military action even before the Aug. 21 attacks near Damascus, where the Obama administration says chemical weapons were used.
Mr. McCain said he was “encouraged” by Monday’s briefing but said he is still not committed to voting for the resolution until next week’s debate.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lois Lerner emails reveal gaping open-records loophole
- Two-thirds of illegal immigrant children approved for asylum: report
- Top Justice official denies conspiring with IRS on tea party targeting
- Boehner: No bill on border surge
- Taking Obama to court a long shot but lawsuit not folly, Congress is told
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq