Rogers: Obama is losing support on Capitol Hill
September 8th, 2013
01:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Rogers: Obama is losing support on Capitol Hill

(CNN) - Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wants to see Congress approve the president's pitch to take military action in Syria, but he said the administration has failed at wooing Capitol Hill.

"I think it's very clear he's lost support in the last week," the Michigan Republican said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

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Rogers' comments on Sunday marked a stark contrast to the optimism he expressed a week ago, when he said on CNN he believed Congress would "rise to the occasion" and pass the president's proposal.

Rogers blasted the Obama administration on Sunday for doing an "awful job" in making its case, saying administration officials are not focusing enough on how Syria's ties with Iran could be potentially damaging to the United States.

He also criticized the president for traveling to the G20 summit in Russia last week without calling Congress back from recess to have a national security debate over whether to take military action in Syria.

"The way it happened was mystifying," Rogers said, referring to the president's proposal August 31 for congressional authorization. "He announced it and then left."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a rewritten authorization measure this week. Lawmakers officially return to Capitol Hill on Monday from their month-long summer break, and the Senate could vote on the resolution as early as Thursday or Friday - or it could drag into the weekend or next week.

It's unclear when or whether the House will vote on the resolution, as Republican leaders have said they will act after the Senate.

While the administration sent three of its top officials - Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey - to two congressional hearings last week and held multiple classified briefings, Rogers said members of Congress still did not have enough opportunities to weigh the evidence.

"It is a confusing mess up to this point, and that has been, I think, their biggest challenge on what is an incredibly important issue," Roger continued.

To drive home his point that the White House is out of touch with Congress, he bashed the administration for sending National Security Adviser Susan Rice to brief Congress during the same week that marks one year after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Rice has come under sharp criticism by Republicans for her statements a few days after the September 11, 2012, attack, when she suggested it came after a protest against an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States.

"And they're trying to win votes. I mean the credibility gap there is huge," he said. "They need to regroup here, think about where they want to go and make this about America's national security," he said.

Rice is scheduled to attend closed intelligence briefings for lawmakers on Monday and Wednesday.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, who took part in television interviews with five networks on Sunday, said he has spoken with dozens of members of Congress and "not a single one rebuts or refutes the intelligence and the evidence."

The question they face, he said on CNN's "State of the Union," is whether Syria's regime should "be held to account for carrying out this activity."

"What the president said is, if members of Congress want to answer that question, to say that there should be consequences for this action, then they're going to have to vote yes for the authorization," he said.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," he argued "it's too early to come to any conclusion" about how Congress will vote.

Filed under: Congress • Mike Rogers • President Obama • Syria
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. onlyfacts

    I still believe, Assad will flee before the first missile is fired. This delay is all a part of the plan. Now the coward knows if he wants to live he better leave quick. To bad the obstructionists GOP isn't in on the master plan.

    September 8, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Wisdom

    I hope Obama loses support for the war. In my opinion Obama really doesn't want this war, but the Military Industrial Complex packed with old wicked men want this war. They're mad that Obama even went to Congress.
    Our Congress has come to the people, and we all said no war. If our politicians keep worshiping money, and not what the people say we need to go to war with Washington and show them we're not playing. Our rich politicians do not have the Americans peoples interest in mind they have their own personal interest in mind.
    And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    September 8, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Ron L

    It will be a BIG mistake if President Assad gets away with this latest use of chemical weapons. It is so ridiculous when I hear fearful, irrational Americans say we can use diplomacy with a person who has basically told everyone he is not the least bit interested in negotiating ANYTHING. I am very annoyed and disappointed that more countries are not offering soon we forget that once a person gets away with something as evil as this, nothing but the fear on their own death will stop them. Assad is a ruthless person addicted to power and the ONLY way to stop him is with MORE power. Americans need to remember just a short while ago we helped in Libya with missiles and it did not develop into an Iraq. We need to really unload a significant number of missiles destroying many of Assads (Syrias) air fields and any weaponry able to deliver chemical weapons in the future. The lack of air power could be all the rebels need to change the tide enough to win the battle. The odds are slim but they definitely would improve.

    September 8, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Tony in Maine

    It's a tough time to be a Republican. Years of ideological training tell them war is righteous – it's the way real men interact with each other. Besides, there's money to be made. But, there's the part of them that screams, if Obama wants it, we must oppose it. He must be denied everything.

    Excedrin headache #1.

    September 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Nobody want to get there hands dirty . If Auschwitz concentration camp was up and running , the world would look the other way .

    September 8, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Well the vote boils down to do you want to support your president or support asseds so he can gas some more of his children ,which he will do . The teaparty GOP wil back assed and he doesn't even have any lobbyist to pay them for their votes. What's up with that????

    September 8, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    No what he probably has figured out, just like the rest of America, is congress is not going to do anything anyway, so why bother. Really time to rethink this group and come up with a new plan, Stan. They have for the last five and one half years proven how unnecessary, and useless they are. Intelligence Committee-–Bwahahahaha.

    September 8, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Joan

    If support is being lost it is not just for the President's plan. Boehner Cantor, McCain and many other top Republicans have also gone on record as supporting it so it falls on their shoulders too. By going to Congress the President has put the burden on them now. If they turn it down he can say he tried his best but as President of a democratic country he has to follow their wishes. If they turn it down and Assad uses gas again he can say "I told you so". If he decides to go it alone and is successful then they can't take any credit. Actually the Congress is really under the spotlight now, not the President because his stance on the issue is already known.

    September 8, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. w l jones

    In this time and ages a person can win by losing.

    September 8, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. rs

    C'mon Mr. Rogers, Mr. Obama could call for tax cuts for the insanely rich and he would lose the support of Republicans. You guys don't mean anything anymore- as long as all you guys want is to make Obama a "one-term" President instead of say, doing your jobs, you are going to fail- like right now.

    September 8, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |