Boehner: Obama must make the case for action in Syria

President Obama must make the case to Congress for any military action in Syria, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE (R-Ohio) said Wednesday. 

In a John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE-seeks-answers-president-obama-syria" mce_href="http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/boehner-seeks-answers-president-obama-syria">letter to the president, Boehner said the briefings key lawmakers have received so far have failed to assuage their concerns about the administration's strategy. 

“I respectfully request that you, as our country’s commander-in-chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy," Boehner wrote.

He stopped short, however, of demanding a congressional vote, even as more than 107 House members have signed a letter to the president making the case for such an authorization. 

Boehner hinted that he supports retaliation following allegations Bashar Assad's forces used chemical weapons, saying the president's response had implications for America's “credibility” beyond Syria, notably in Iran. But he asked no fewer than 14 pointed questions about the long-term goals of a military response, notably regarding the risks of empowering Islamist militants and drawing Assad allies Iran and Russia into the fight.

Boehner faces competing political pressures as he weighs his chamber's interests. 

While some Republicans have criticized Obama for not doing more to constrain Assad's forces, the Speaker also must contend with a number of Republicans who want to avoid a repeat of the situation in Libya two years ago, when Obama intervened without congressional approval. Many of them would likely vote against a U.S. strike, which has very little public support. 

“Why don't Pres Obama & leaders in Washington want Congress to vote on attacking Syria?” Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashHouse votes to crack down on undocumented immigrants with gang ties GOP lawmaker taunts House conservatives: Trump’s base is not ‘small faction of obstructionists’ Overnight Finance: GOP plans to unveil tax framework in late September | Critical stretch for Trump tax team | Equifax CEO called to testify | Sanders unveils single-payer bill MORE (R-Mich.) tweeted Wednesday. “Because the vote would fail.”

Boehner is also under pressure on the fiscal front. The House faces painful votes on next year's budget and raising the debt ceiling when it returns from recess in September, and there is little appetite for adding potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in war spending to the ledger.

“Does the administration intend to submit a supplemental appropriations request to Congress,” Boehner asked, “should the scope and duration of the potential military strikes exceed the initial planning?”


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