Pelosi presses case on Syria

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is highlighting the restrictions of the Senate's use-of-force resolution to drum up support for President Obama's plan to strike Syria.

In her third public letter to her caucus this week, Pelosi emphasized that the Senate proposal, passed Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “addresses some of the concerns expressed by many of our House members.”

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“Specifically, the resolution prevents boots on the ground, ties the authorization more closely to the use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction, and has a limited timetable,” Pelosi wrote.

The string of letters underscores the stakes of the Syria vote for Obama and other leading Democrats, who want Congress to authorize the strikes to show humanitarian support for Syria's civilian victims, to send a global message that chemical attacks carry serious consequences and — not least — to accentuate Obama's power to persuade as he enters the eighth month of his second term.

“I can’t say that it isn’t something that I didn’t know before, but I certainly do think that it’s a sign of strength,” Pelosi told Time magazine this week, referring to the president's decision to bring a Syria resolution to Congress. “I would say he’s a tough hombre.”

The number of House Republicans announcing their opposition to military strikes on Syria skyrocketed this week, putting much more pressure on Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to deliver a significant number of votes if an authorization resolution is to have any chance of passing the lower chamber.

It's unclear how much influence Pelosi's letters are having on her troops. While more than 20 House Democrats have announced their support for U.S. military intervention, even more have announced their opposition, and a much longer list say they're still on the fence.

“The fact remains that a significant number of our constituents are in opposition to the use of force, and that is something that we have to weigh heavily in making our decision,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Thursday.