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by
Bridget Johnson

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September 2, 2013 - 1:17 pm
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The first congressional hearing on President Obama’s request for military force authorization in Syria comes tomorrow when Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The 2:30 p.m. hearing comes nearly a week before lawmakers are supposed to be back in session from the August recess, but many are already back in town to attend administration briefings.

Tuesday’s hearing will be open, but the Foreign Relations Committee holds another hearing Wednesday that will be closed-door.

Kerry will also testify in an open hearing Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at noon.

“The president’s proposed military response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime demands thorough and deliberate congressional consideration,” said chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). “This hearing will allow for the administration to publicly make its case and explain its plans to Congress and the American people.”

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said yesterday’s classified briefing hosted by five administration officials was the first bicameral and bipartisan security briefing held since she came to Congress in 1991.

At the briefing lawmakers were shown a classified document, which they could not remove from the room, showing the chain of command demonstrating the likelihood that Assad gave the order to use sarin gas, along with other evidence including the trajectory of the chemical weapon from Assad’s territory to the rebel enclave, testimony from first responders and test results from victims that indicate sarin.

Norton also said they were told Iran and Hezbollah counseled Assad against using the chemical weapons. She added that administration officials couldn’t answer her questions about why Assad decided to use them now.

“Still troubling to me is the U.S. view that a brief strike will have a deterrent effect, presumably on the use of chemical weapons and that Assad, who has tons of chemical weapons, is unlikely to retaliate,” said Norton. “I am also concerned that the U.S. has only a slim coalition – Turkey, France and the U.S. – particularly considering that almost all nations have signed the chemical weapons treaty, including most in the Middle East.”

She added that the administration’s “broad language” in the resolution submitted to Congress on Saturday night “bothered many,” but anticipated changes to be made to the draft during committee markup.

Based on what she heard in the briefing though, Norton stressed that she expects administration pushback to any attempts to narrow the scope of the authorization too much. Officials in the briefing also reminded lawmakers that the president can go ahead without congressional authorization if he chooses to do so.

Both Democratic and Republican leaders have vowed that members will not be whipped to vote a certain way on the authorization.

Yet the veteran delegate said Obama has a long way to go to overcome not just usual partisanship but deep divides on the Syria issue within each caucus.

Norton’s office said she “believes that the president will have to count on the loyalty of Democrats to the president to bring many reluctant Democrats to authorize a strike.”

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Loyalty to their Dear Leader or loyalty to their country?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (18)
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50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't doubt Assad ordered the use of sarin. Why should we care? Women and children, you say.

I say we've stood by in Somalia and all over the world while despots murdered thousands. We should not only stand by in this case, we should sell popcorn.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is just Obama's way out. If Congress authorizes it, he can say he had their support. If they refuse, then he says there is nothing he can do. They should not indulge him. They should rebuke him, but the Dems would not allow this.

The good thing is, this is not a partisan issue. Both Parties are split on this. In the end, this will not fly. Some Dems will want to support it, because Obama is already a lame duck, and they want to buck him up a bit. Unfortunately, it would cost them in their districts. Some can pull it off, but some cannot.

Eventually, Republicans will not support it, for a variety of reasons. There is no support for it. Denying it makes Obama look like the jackass that he is. "No, we are not going to send the country to war, just because Obama opened his big mouth."
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sadly this is a civil war, if it so bad send in the most ineffective group of criminals - the UN or Useless Nations, I am sure from past experience the UN cronies can steel 90% of the money & accomplish nothing
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
ILLEGAL ATTACK ON SYRIA MOTIVATIONS EXPOSED by Michael Thomas August 30th, 2013

http://www.storyleak.com/illegal-attack-on-syria-motivations-exposed/
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
My theory is Obama doesn't want to win the vote. That way he will have cover for is inaction.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Loyalty to their Dear Leader or loyalty to their country?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
IMHO, the "principled Conservative vote" would be to abstain (vote Present) on whatever harebrained resolution makes it's to way the House/Senate.

This issue is the poster-child for the "Present" vote in the first place.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Breitbart is on fire as it posts articles which demonstrate why trusting Obama to lead an attack on Syria is stupid.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/09/02/clintons-former-syria-advisor-slams-obama-handling-of-crisis
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
What about the murder of innocent women, and children in the Congo, or North Korean gulags? I would rather help them.

What's the agenda? Help the side that murders Christians, and wants a Caliphate? Aren't these the same type of moon god worshipers that run a muck in Libya now that we helped get the Col. shot in the head?

Both the Demonrats, and the RINO's do what the American people do not want. Try them all for Treason for supporting the Law of the Sea Treaty.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does anyone have any guesses about how members of the senate and house will vote? There's gotta be a political wonk out there who has this sorted out already.

As for Obama, he might be hoping that he gets the backing of the approx. fifteen percent of republicans/conservatives who support this war. (Do it for Israel!)
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do it for Israel? You have it backwards. Israel will be bombed if we attack Syria.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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