Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat, says the Russian-led proposal to avert U.S. military action in Syria is a positive development that should be explored, although the “proof will be in the pudding” when the United States presses President Bashar Assad to turn over his chemical weapons.
Mr. Schiff, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the proposal to place Mr. Assad’s weapons under global supervision could bring the international community together and provide clearer results than a military strike that may not effectively punish Mr. Assad for an Aug. 21 chemical attack on civilians near Damascus.
“I think it should be vigorously pursued … I look at this as a positive development,” he told MSNBC on Tuesday.
Top senators are taking a close look at alternative solutions to the standoff with Mr. Assad, even as President Obama plans to push his case for military intervention in an address to the American public at 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday.
The White House has said it will explore the plan posed by Russia, which the Syrian government has accepted, but argued that the proposal is the direct result of U.S. threats to use force.
Mr. Obama’s attempts to cull support for military intervention have been thwarted by public opinion and numerous lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican, on Tuesday became the latest senator to publicly state his opposition to a strike.
“Any strategic attack has the potential to become an act of war, and should be treated as such,” Mr. Heller said. “Before I vote to put members of Nevada’s families in harm’s way, a full justification for war must be provided. After extensive discussions with the White House and those concerned about the constitutionality of military intervention, I do not believe a strategic attack on Syria is in the best interest of the United States at this time.”