Despite conservative uneasiness, Boehner and Cantor support bombing Syria
Despite uneasiness among the conservatives in the House of Representatives over whether to support military action in Syria, both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed on Tuesday President Obama’s call for bombing the country.
“I am going to support the president’s call for action,” Boehner said Tuesday after a White House meeting with the president and congressional leaders. “I believe my colleagues should support this call for action.”
Over the Labor Day weekend, Obama called for American military action in Syria in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s apparent use of chemical weapons in the country’s civil war. Obama said he is seeking congressional approval of the military action, and both the House and Senate are expected to vote on it when the congress returns from its summer recess next week.
Cantor also released a statement on Tuesday saying he supports Obama’s call for military intervention.
“I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria,” he said. “While the authorizing language will likely change, the underlying reality will not. America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States.”
With these statements, Boehner and Cantor will likely find themselves at disagreement with the more conservative wing of the House Republican Conference. Some conservative lawmakers are reporting that their constituents are strongly against any intervention.
“FYI: Not 1 (one) constituent has told me they are in favor of action in Syria. As of this second. In other words: 100% opposed,” Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffini wrote on Twitter Monday.
Griffin elaborated on Twitter that he “won’t make final decision until I have done all my homework” but for now he is a “strong lean no.”
As for the Republican leadership in the Senate, minority leader Mitch McConnell stopped short of announcing his stance on the issue on Tuesday after the meeting on Syria at the White House. McConnell said that he wants more information from Obama.
“I appreciate the President’s briefing today at the White House and would encourage him to continue updating the American people,” McConnell said. “While we are learning more about his plans, Congress and our constituents would all benefit from knowing more about what it is he thinks needs to be done—and can be accomplished—in Syria and the region.”