A House Divided: Obama Lacks Votes For Syrian Attack
War-weary 'real' Americans appear to have the ear of their representatives (for once). Message such as "you don't stop a war by getting involved and shooting more," and "once you start launching missiles, anything can happen," appear to have moved both the staunchest tea-party Republican and the most anti-war Democrats to shun the position of Boehner and Pelosi. As Bloomberg reports, only about 20 members (or 5%) of the House is publicly supporting a military strike. Against this, 68 lawmakers (an uncomfrtable alliance of Dems and Reps) are actively opposed to a strike. 350 House members are 'undecided', with 217 required to make or break the vote. With 60 votes required in the Senate, Obama can currently only count on 20 'confirmed' yesses. Obama's problem arises from the fact that whipping the members in line is tough with a number of different strains of thought resisting Obama's urgings.
Most normally follow but... Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi voted the same way just five times in the past three years. Every time, the House has followed their lead.
That may change when it comes to Syria. Boehner and Pelosi are among about 20 members -- or about 5 percent of the House -- publicly supporting a military strike so far.
Some don’t think the U.S. has any business intervening in Syria’s civil war, no matter how limited the strikes, a point of view exemplified by one Tea Party favorite, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky... “This isn’t our responsibility,” Florida Representative Alan Grayson, a liberal Democrat opposing the measure, said in an interview. “There isn’t a single American casualty up to this point in the Syrian civil war and I’d like to keep it that way.”
Others, including Democrats in the Congressional Black Caucus, are torn between loyalty to the president and their natural anti-war inclinations...
One of the clearest signs is reluctant members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who have typically opposed war yet don’t want to rebuke the nation’s first black president... “The people in my district are war-worn,” Cleaver said in an interview. “The response from my constituents is overwhelmingly no.”
Others simply don’t think Obama’s plan for a limited strike will deter Assad... “Once you start launching missiles, anything can happen,” said Amash, a second-term lawmaker who opposes the resolution.
or want Obama to more forcefully back anti-Assad rebels with more and heavier arms.
Some, like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, say Obama’s call for action is too little, too late.
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