Partisan Syria Vote Predictions Signal Close Tallies in House, Senate


President Barack Obama has decided to let Congress weigh in on whether or not to launch strikes on Syria. But will a force-of-action resolution pass the House and the Senate?

The early predictions from lawmakers falls, not surprisingly, along party lines. Just take one telling segment from Sunday’s edition of CBS’s “Face the Nation” as evidence. Lawmakers have their talking points. And they’re busily selling them to any microphone that’s within sight.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., signaled lawmakers very well could shoot down a use-of-force resolution, telling guest host Major Garrett: “My constituents are war weary.”

“The president has an obligation to make his case. He has not made that case at this point in time,” Chambliss said. “The debate in Congress is going to be really interesting.”
Freshman Senate Armed Services Committee member Tim Kaine, D-Va., tried to put a positive spin on Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval.

“I’m so happy that’s he done it,” Kaine said, adding the best way to educate an American public that is skeptical to the tune of more than 70 percent polled by several outlets is for Congress to have a spirited public debate.

Kaine, who in the past was a key campaign-trail ally of candidate Obama, told Garrett Obama is merely doing with the Founding Fathers intended. “They intended when … the nation initiates military action, it should be with the approval of Congress.”

The loyal Democrat said he has “high confidence” that Congress will approve a Syrian resolution.

The bottom line is that 26 hours after Obama’s bombshell change-of-heart is too soon to predict how the GOP-controlled House or the (narrowly) Democratic-controlled Senate will vote on a Syria war resolution.

Evidence emerged Sunday that House leaders won’t even whip — Hill speak for counting votes, making promises and twisting arms — the coming vote.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California told this to CNN senior congressional producer Deirdre Walsh, who passed it along via Twitter: “I don’t think matters of military action lend themselves to whipping … these are singular votes.”

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett