Boehner could bring House back

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is keeping open the option of reconvening the House to deal with Syria. 

"The Speaker hasn't ruled it out," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Hill on Friday afternoon.

President Obama has come under pressure from nearly 200 members of Congress to get congressional approval before ordering any military strike against Syria over that country's alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians. 

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The administration on Friday laid out its case in stark terms, stating that it had high confidence in intelligence showing the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. 

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks on Syria Friday afternoon that many interpreted as a sign that a missile strike against Syria is imminent. But shortly after Kerry spoke, Obama himself said he has not yet made any decisions.

The House is not scheduled to return to Washington until the week of Sept. 9, but many in Boehner's conference have criticized the chamber for not having a full debate on possible action against Syria, particularly given the British Parliament's vote against action this week. 

An earlier-than-planned return to work for the House would depend in large part on whether the Obama administration takes any military action against Syria without congressional approval and how members of Congress react.

"What happens depends largely on what the president does," a House Republican leadership aide said about the idea of bringing back the House early.

Under a resolution passed earlier this month, both the House and Senate are scheduled to return on Sept. 9. That resolution does allow Congress to return earlier if needed, but only if Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) agree — a factor that could make a quick return harder to coordinate.

Reid's office did not return a request for comment on whether Reid is open to reconvening at an earlier time to deal with Syria.

In his remarks today, Kerry did not directly address demands from dozens of House members that Congress formally approve military action against Syria. Instead, he argued that Syria's chemical attacks on its own citizens created a moral imperative to act.

"It matters deeply to the credibility and the future interests of America and our allies," Kerry said. "It matters because a lot of other countries whose policies challenge these international norms are watching."

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