Boehner skeptical of Russia’s Syria plan

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced skepticism Tuesday about a Russian-brokered deal to prevent a U.S. military strike on Syria. [WATCH VIDEO]

Boehner, one of a handful of Republicans to back authorization for a military strike, also said President Obama has failed to make the case to Congress. 

Pointing to Obama's scheduled address Tuesday night from the Oval Office, Boehner said the president has to do more to convince lawmakers to come on board. 

“He’s not made the sale to the American people. That’s why I think tonight is so important,” Boehner said. 

Obama doesn't appear to have the votes in the House or the Senate to win authorization, but those votes may not go forward given Russia's offer. 

Russia on Tuesday urged Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international control, a move Syria's government quickly endorsed. Obama on Monday said it was a significant development and could be a breakthrough to prevent a U.S. strike. 

Boehner urged caution on Tuesday, saying he was skeptical of the proposal given Russia's past support for Syria.

“I’m skeptical of it because of the actors that are involved. It’s as simple as that,” Boehner said at a press conference Tuesday. “Clearly, diplomacy is always a better outcome than military action. But I will say I’m somewhat skeptical of those that are involved in the diplomatic discussion today.”

While Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) came out in favor of Obama’s plan to strike Syria last week, their conference has not followed suit. The two leaders are not whipping their members to vote for military action.

“Clearly, members tend to reflect their constituents. The American people have not been supportive,” Boehner said on Tuesday.

The speaker stood by his position in support of military strikes while saying that “a lot of mistakes were made” in Syria throughout the two-year conflict.

“I believed it was important that to try to help the president to provide a unified front in our effort to make it clear that the use of chemical weapons is clearly unacceptable,” Boehner said.