Washington (CNN) – Getting at least 60 U.S. senators to support a military authorization against Syria is "a work in progress," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged Friday while expressing optimism he would be able to reach that goal.
"I think we're going to get to 60 votes. You know it's a work in progress," Reid told reporters as he stepped off the Senate floor after formally filing the measure and readying it for expected votes next week.
Supporters of attacking Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians are trying to secure backing from at least 60 senators because they believe they will need to overcome a filibuster from opponents. Reid declined to answer specific questions about vote counts and floor strategy for the measure, which appears to have an uphill climb to passage.
On Monday, Reid is expected to take the first steps to overcome an anticipated filibuster over whether to formally begin debate on the resolution. That would set up a key test vote on that question Wednesday.
Reid said the many classified administration briefings held this week have helped lawmakers better understand the case against the Syrian government.
He defended the president's desire to strike Syria, saying it is critical the U.S. stand up for an international treaty adopted after World War I that banned the use of the horrible weapons.
"To have this man use chemical weapons, as is pretty clear now, more than once – last time killing 1,439 people, including hundreds of children – if this doesn't call for a response I don't know what does," Reid said.