WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama worked on Monday to persuade skeptical lawmakers to endorse a U.S. military intervention in civil war-wracked Syria, winning conditional support from two leading Senate foreign policy hawks even as he encountered resistance from members of his own party after two days of a determined push to sell the plan.
Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Obama still needs to make a strong case for attacking the regime of President Bashar Assad, but they toned down past criticism that the president's plan was too weak to change the course of the fighting in Syria in favor of the opposition.
"We have to make it clear that a vote against this would be catastrophic in its consequences," now and in future international crises, McCain told reporters outside the White House following an hour-long private meeting that he and Graham had with Obama and White House national security adviser Susan Rice.
But the outcome of any vote remained in doubt amid continued skepticism in a war-weary Congress. Several Democrats in a conference call with administration officials pushed back against military action, questioning both the intelligence about a chemical attack last month outside Damascus and the value of an intervention to United States interests, according to aides on the call. Others demanded narrower authorization than that requested by the administration.
"The White House has put forward a proposed bill authorizing the use of force that, as drafted, is far too broad and open ended, and could be used to justify everything from a limited cruise missile strike to a no fly zone and the introduction of American ground troops," said Rep.
June 13, 2013: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L), Representative John Dingell (D-MI) and his wife Deborah Dingell unveil Dingell's portrait as the longest serving member of Congress during an event on Capitol Hill in Washington.reuters
A bipartisan Senate duo says they want to crack down on what they call the government’s “lavish” spending on oil paintings of congressmen, the costs of which can top $50,000 each.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.