Friday, September 6, 2013

News Analysis: Sluggish support in U.S. Congress for Syria strike spells trouble for Obama

Support for authorizing a military strike against Syria didn't pick up in U.S. Congress Thursday, which could mean trouble for the Obama administration as it would need to spend more time and precious political capital to cajole the undecided lawmakers, as well as the American public, to its side, experts say.

The problem even began to emerge on Wednesday, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed their public mark up of the authorization resolution for over three hours, and passed it 10-7 only after it satisfied Sen. John McCain by adding language to change momentum on the ground. But the vote tally showed bipartisan support as well as bipartisan opposition, indicating Congress' fractured state of opinion on the Syria issue.

Vote counts made by the press testifies to the point. CNN said the Senate, which is expected to vote on the resolution next week, has 24 yes votes, including the Democratic leadership and most committee chairs, and 17 no votes, with 59 still undecided. It is believed that if opponents resort to filibuster, Majority Leader Harry Reid may need to muster a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome them.

In the House, where all seats are to be contested in the election next year, there are only 26 yes votes, including both parties' leadership. There are 102 no votes, 284 undecideds and 21 unknown as of Thursday afternoon, according to the CNN. A vote count by The Washington Post yields similar results.



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