June 13th, 2013
06:12 PM ET
10 years 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. Woman In California

    Although I have mixed feelings on this, I trust that the president has throughly thought this through and is aware of the consequences.

    As to Bill Clinton's two cents: IF he still can't fully support the president fine, but he should at least keep his trap shut and respect the man. Speaking further about this will only divide the party and make him look petty and unprofessional. I personally find it offensive and classless.

    June 13, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  2. steven

    Wouldn't it be appropriate for these "spokesmen" to actually serve? Other than John, none have.

    June 13, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. Ed1

    As always the RED LINE keeps moving just like our POTUS bow down to another Dictator.

    June 13, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  4. noneofdabove

    This is madness.

    June 13, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  5. Steven Traylor

    In response to Mr. Boehner ; I seriously hope that he consults the politicians of DC about as much as he consults DC comics as the outcome is the same. As in Korea as in Vietnam as in Desert Storm as in Iraqi freedom as in Afghanistan, when politicians sift it through their fingers their is nothing left for the generals but pattycake. Give your response to the generals and sit back and watch the fireworks and the smoke to clear.

    June 13, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  6. patrick

    I agree that something needs to be done to help the people of Syria. I would think that our government needs to fix itself before we try to fix someone else.

    June 13, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. Gopherit

    U.N. reports state that there is evidence that both sides in Syria have been guilty of using chemical weapons and committing atrocities. The U.S.'s and other countries' moves to arm the rebels is politically motivated and there is the likelihood that such weapons will fall into the hands of anti-U.S. forces. If the rebels win there is the probability that a pro=Islamic regime will come to power and that the toleration which the Assad regime extended to minorities such as Christians and Jews will end. A pro-Islamic government also could well adopt an anti-West policy.

    June 14, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  8. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    What I find offensive is that John McCain pre-empted the announcement from the White House. Mr. McCain, you were not voted into the office of President of the United States. Your arrogance in assuming that you speak for the duly elected President and his administration demonstrates (YET AGAIN!) what a small and petty, little man you truly are ... shame on you!

    June 14, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  9. donna

    History repeats itself.

    June 14, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  10. boogieman7167

    let see in the 80s RR fights a proxy war against the soviets arms rebel groups inside Afghanistan who we now know as the Taliban. . why can the USA learn form history.

    June 14, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  11. caeser

    Yes Boehner,"It's long past time" Obama did something,and "Congress must be consulted"so that any action can be filibustered.

    June 14, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  12. Marie MD

    Does anybody really care about what the weeper of the house says?
    If there is proof that al-Assad is using chemical weapons at least that might be true unlike the never found and never were WMDs of Iraq.
    Just don't send in any troops. Let these folks take care of their own problems. Enough of the US, as we continue to be the country they hate, helping them out with the lives of our troops.

    June 14, 2013 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  13. JY

    Only 10% of those questioned in a Gallup survey released Thursday say they have confidence in Congress.

    And 50%+ of Americans that are voters keep electing the same fools election after election.

    This is a country of corrupt leaders and stupid people.

    June 14, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  14. JY

    "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." John McCain...

    Guess he longs for the days when the white house created facts to run blindly into war, Ala RR and GW... The GOP way.

    June 14, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  15. Jocho Johnson

    What the hell is wrong with these people, isn't one person in Congress going to stand with the majority of Americans who DO NOT WANT to get involved

    June 14, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
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