June 13th, 2013
06:12 PM ET
10 months ago

Washington reacts to White House decision on Syria

(CNN) – Many lawmakers offered praise and caution over President Barack Obama's decision to provide military support to Syrian rebels, an announcement made by the White House on Thursday.

White House officials acknowledged that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale a number of times.

Read the political reaction below.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona:

"I applaud the president's decision. I applaud the fact that he has now acknowledged what the French and others and all the rest of us knew, that Bashar al-Assad was using chemical weapons."

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman:

Asked at a press conference about the president’s determination that a red line has been crossed because of Syria’s use of chemical weapons, Levin responded, “that means there must be consequences.”

Levin said he would like there to be “additional military pressure” put on the Syrian government but he wants to wait for the president to announce what steps he wants to take before commenting. At a press conference, Levin noted that he has in the past called for missile strikes against government aircraft in order to weaken the government’s air power.

Spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner:

"It is long past time to bring the Assad regime's bloodshed in Syria to an end. As President Obama examines his options, it is our hope he will properly consult with Congress before taking any action."

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman:

"I am pleased that President Obama's Administration has joined the growing international chorus declaring that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in Syria, crossing the red line drawn by the President last August. Assad must not be allowed to continue to commit these atrocities. As I called for in a USA Today oped earlier this week, the United States should assist the Turks and our Arab League partners to create safe zones in Syria from which the U.S. and our allies can train, arm, and equip vetted opposition forces. These efforts have the potential of turning the tide once and for all against the Assad regime to deliver a peace negotiation. Then the United States would have the credibility it needs for a seat at the table during the transition to a post-Assad Syria."

Rep. Eliot Engel, top Democrat on House Foreign Affairs Committee:

"The President's 'red line' has clearly been crossed, and it is crystal clear that the United States must provide appropriate arms to those in Syria fighting for their lives and freedom. Further delay is not an option."


Filed under: Congress • Syria • White House
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. tiscali.it

    I think President Obama does not take these decisions lightly...

    June 13, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. vern

    we need to stay out of this mess. we have enough problems here at home.

    June 13, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Bob

    Why would President Obama even CONSIDER "consulting" with the obstructionist GnoP House?

    June 13, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. RUDY HAUGENEDER -- CANADA

    This chemical weapon use information - which I suspect is mostly fake - is designed to let Nato and Sunni Arab oil nation forces attack Shi'ite government forces in Syria, annihilate them and Shia civilians, and then sweep into Shi'ite Arab Iraq and especially Shi'ite Persian Iran with the same bloodlust as the Mongol Hordes did several centuries ago, slaughtering millions of Persians whose population only recovered about a century ago.
    Well. Are the UK's Cameron, America's Obama, and France's Hollande - all strong Christians - up to the slaughter? Probably, and soon.

    June 13, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. Strelok

    I was loath to agree with Senator McCain years ago about military assistance or intervention in Syria, but the truth is things are getting that bad. A reasonable person doesn't sit by while a large grass fire burns, hoping it will put itself out, especially when there is plenty of fuel available for it to spread.

    I can understand and appreciate the administration and congress' concerns about intervening and possibly getting sucked into another middle eastern conflict or war, but with bombs and rockets starting to hit beyond the borders of adjacent countries and no sign of the conflict settling down any time soon, at the very least we have to be much more vigilant about what is going on. In this case, we'll probably have to be more proactive as well.

    June 13, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. Bill

    Here we go, mired down in another conflict. It appears from the reports that the rebels used these first, so why support them?

    June 13, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. Z

    Mccain is one of the top recipients of campaign contributions from APAIC, which is essentially an Israeli lobby. Israel does not care about American interests; rather, Israel only cares about demolishing muslim regimes in the middle east that they view as a threat. The U.S. does not need to get involved, especially since removing Assad will destabilize the region, and there's no guarantee that whoever comes into power will be pro-American. Worst case scenario, Russia, China, and other powers are pulled into opposite sides until the conflict doesn't just escalate into the entire middle east, but instead into world war 3.

    June 13, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. elnuevocicero

    Let the Politicians send their own kids to fight with the Muslims. Why should we continue to waste American lives and resources aiding anyone over there. They all wish us harm.

    June 13, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  9. Ryan

    We're being told we don't have enough money to employ our federal workers full time. Where are we getting the money to fight someone else's civil war?

    June 13, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. ge

    win-win, mccain and freinds make a few bucks on their investments,terrorist get more guns.and the tax payers pay the bill

    June 13, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Nate

    if the rest of the world has proven that the syrian regime has used chemical weapons (French, British). Then let them arm the rebels and send their young men and women in there and do something about it. I will give them all my support and prayers from here.

    June 13, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. fayray11x

    when lawmakers put on some infantry boots, then I'll listen to them. until then it ALL politics and pathetic.

    June 13, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. wade

    I guess Politicians never do listen or learn.

    June 13, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. Martin Huff

    This could be a big slippery slope. There are already interests from all over the mid-east involved with arms and people. This will no be solved in an easy, efficient or quick manner. Are we ready to continue stirring the pot in this area of the world?

    June 13, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. lolwut

    Splendid! Arming jihadists worked out so well in Libya!

    June 13, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. Data Driven

    We never learn, do we?

    I reeeeally hope this isn't because Obama's had a bad month and wants to get Media to change focus. Please tell me otherwise, because I'd like to think the man I've supported (with qualifications - and here's cause for another) for 6 years, and for whose campaigns I volunteered for, isn't just another opportunist. Please tell me I'm overreacting.

    Meanwhile, consider me NOT ON BOARD for this.

    June 13, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. Russ

    OK. So what will Russia and Iran do now?

    June 13, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. Scott Indpendent

    interesting that the regime just won a major battle to give them the upper hand and soon after this comes to light. Seems like behind the scenes, there was hope the rebels would oust Assad on their own, but now that it seems less likely, the US will step in and ensure his downfall like the other dictators before him

    June 13, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  19. Papa Bear

    We need to proceed very cautiously. NO American lives should be put at risk in yet another foreign war. Yes – the use of chemicals is atrocious; yes – Assad must be toppled; NO – it is not the US responsibility. We ALWAYS come out of these things as losers. We should have learned after Viet Nam, but obviously we didn't.

    June 13, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Jim in Florida

    I want to see the proof that Assad used chems. Why, doesn't the political left want to see the proof? Or does Obama get yet another pass on this by the media?

    Egypt, Libya and now Syria – all will be run by Al Queda and we are going to pay dearly....long after the Great Deceiver Obama leaves office.

    The media isn't covering the dead Christian bodies in Egypt, they didn't cover the dead American bodies in Libya and they sure as hell won't cover the Christian dead in Syria once the "rebels" (Fundamentalist Muslims) take control there. Turkey is next – Obama will leave office and leave us to contend with Muslim fanatics in control of Egypt, Libya, Syria and probably Turkey.

    Thanks Obama, you fraud.

    June 13, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Obama the Murderer

    I am now ready to join the revolution against these old vampires lusting for blood.

    June 13, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. Thomas

    A serous matter , the best process is not to be reactionary.

    The US must be diligent and thorough in its actions.

    We must remember this is a Syrian revolution , mindful of there objective and our limitations .

    Assad will be in Iran for his 48th birth day , Born Sept 11th , 1965

    HAPPY BIRTH DAY Bashar Hafez al-Assad , you made your bed !

    June 13, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein

    All I can say is that Obama wants to make sure of the weapons and other lethal materials don't fall into the hands that would kills us.

    June 13, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. brain

    so 70,000 dead people from small arms fire, mortars, artillery, missiles and bombs are okay but 100 to 150 dead from chemical weapons and we HAVE to get involved? REALLY? Iraq ring a bell anyone??? Guess Obama needs to distract from the scandal ridden crap administration he rules...

    June 13, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. whyme4

    Pack your bags troopers, here you go again!

    June 13, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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