Over the weekend, President Obama announced that he will ask Congress for authorization for a military strike in Syria. In a press conference on Saturday, the president said, “While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.” Only one week ago, it appeared that President Obama would make this important decision alone, but instead he has laid the issue at the feet of a divided Congress. And, the outcome is far from certain.
The president's proposal may pass the democratically-controlled Senate, with the help of a few Republicans like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. However, Tea Party senators like Rand Paul, and liberals like Bernie Sanders, could join forces to block the measure. In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the president may have an even tougher time getting approval to strike in Syria. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has come out in favor of President Obama's plan, saying it's “in our national security interest and in furtherance of regional stability and global security.” But, it's doubtful that House Speaker John Boehner can get his party together for a rank-and-file vote in either direction.
Some congressional Republicans have shown support for the President's policy, but Representatives Tom Cole and Mike Turner have already expressed their opposition to the plan. Just considering congressional approval is extremely complicated, and that doesn't even begin to address all the questions surrounding this possible strike. Many Americans, and their elected leaders, have strong feelings about how we should proceed in Syria. President Obama hasn't yet explained why our nation should police the world, but at least there will be debate about bombing a foreign nation.
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