Obama in Full Lobby Mode for Action on Syria

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President Barack Obama has a big job to do before heading out of town for the G-20 Summit in Russia: convincing Congress to take military action against Syria.

U.S. House and Senate leaders are meeting with the president again Tuesday. Several key lawmakers are already giving their tentative support.

The Obama administration is in full lobby mode as members of Congress are receiving a classified briefing. They're holding the first public hearing Tuesday on authorizing use of force in Syria.

What could a U.S. Strike on Syria mean for Israel? CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell explains, on CBN Newswatch, Sept. 3.

The White House got a boost from Speaker of the House John Boehner, who said he will support the president's actions.

"The use of weapons has to be responded to and only the U.S. has the capability and to stop Assad," he said Tuesday. "Some lawmakers who've received a classified briefing on Syria by the president's national security team remain skeptical."

Two tother Republican lawmakers have already voiced tentative support for Obama's plan.

"I think we have found some areas we can work together. But we have a long way to go," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said.

McCain said it would be "catastrophic" for Congress to reject the president's request. But he said a stronger case needs to be made to the American people first.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is also on board but he said the president's plan doesn't go far enough. He joined McCain in calling for more than just isolated strikes.

Other lawmakers remain skeptical.

"I don't see where the Assad regime poses a direct threat to America or its allies," Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., said.

"What's missing right now is the plan of action about what will happen in the event that the United States did use some type of force against Syria," Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.

The president will continue to seek congressional authorization, but both he and Secretary of State John Kerry say he has the power to act even if a vote in Congress fails.

Polls have also shown that a majority of Americans oppose an attack.

"Syria is not at war with the United States," anti-war protestor Brian Becker said. "The United States government and Obama does not have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner."

Another cause for concern: Syria's rebel forces are a mixed bag that include al Qaeda terrorists. As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, striking the Syrian regime may help the very group behind that attack.

Meanwhile, Obama is gaining some international support. France released a nine-page intelligence report outlining its case against the Syrian government.

The analysis said the Syrian regime launched the attack involving "massive use of chemical agents" and could carry out similar strikes in the future.

The French prime minister said Syria's actions cannot go without a response. The United Nations refugee agency said more than 2 million refugees have fled the violence in Syria.

The country is losing almost 5,000 citizens a day, making Syria the nation with the largest number of people displaced from their homes.

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CBN News
George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Sr. Reporter

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