GOP lawmaker: Why have a UN?

"If the UN is so hamstrung that it cannot rally the world to stop Assad, and we have to unilaterally attack Syria, what exactly is the point of having a UN?"

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The cost of the UN on the American taxpayer has been raised before by Republicans, and may again in light of pressure from the Obama administration to attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons. On Monday, Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice acknowledged that UN backing for an attack on Syria is "just not going to happen."

In 2010, the U.S. contributed nearly $8 billion to the UN's operations, but since then, Congress has not required a full accounting of annual U.S. contributions to the New York-based body.

Bentivolio also criticized the Obama administration for arguing that limited missile strikes against Syria would not constitute a war that needs to be authorized by Congress. Last week, Kerry told Congress that these planned strikes should not be seen as a war "in the classic sense."

"If another nation attacked us the way our President wants to attack Syria, everyone in this room would call it war," Bentivolio said.

As of Monday, it seemed unclear whether Congress would be able to pass a resolution authorizing a military attack against Syria, or whether it would have to. Earlier in the day, Russia outlined a possible negotiated settlement involving Syria giving up its chemical weapons, and Syria seemed interested, which prompted Obama to agree that such a proposal could be a way to avoid a U.S. attack.

But it remains unclear how quickly such an agreement could be worked out, and in the meantime, Bentivolio said Congress should not support Obama's request for military authorization.

"We can show the world that our nation will not plunge itself into war because our President drew an artificial red line and feels embarrassed that a dictator crossed it," he said.

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