WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with key leaders from both the House and Senate Tuesday in the White House Cabinet Room regarding possible military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
This comes after President Obama’s speech indicating he will seek congressional approval before taking action.
Last week, Tennessee’s Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “While I’m opposed to American boots on the ground in Syria, I would support surgical, proportional military strikes given the strong evidence of the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical warfare.”
During a press availability Tuesday morning, Sen. Corker suggested the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would produce legislation as Tuesday or Wednesday morning concerning a possible strike.
“The American people deserve to hear from the administration about why military action in Syria is necessary, what it will achieve and how it will be sufficiently limited to keep the U.S. from being drawn further into the Syrian conflict,” Corker said last week.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey are scheduled to testify today.
Senator Corker told reporters he was working closely with Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., to craft language on a possible resolution.
As ranking Republican, Corker will provide President Obama’s administration with bipartisan cover to take action against Syria’s Assad.
Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, who was added to the committee this year, has stated his opposition to military action in Syria and is part of a growing number of Republicans skeptical of foreign military action.
In an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press, Senator Paul pushed back against President Obama and Senator Corker’s position by asking who most closely aligns with America’s interest in the war-torn country.
“I don’t see American interests involved on either side of this Syrian war,” Sen. Paul said. “I see Assad, who has protected Christians for a number of decades, and Islamic rebels on the other side who have been attacking Christians.”
On Monday, Senator Corker explained to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer what he saw during a recent visit to the region. “I was in the region two and half weeks ago, and I was totally embarrassed and dismayed that not a single shipment of arms has made its way [to] the vetted opposition.”
Whatever decision comes out of the Senate, Corker will play a key role in cobbling together bipartisan support for the President’s objectives.
Story filed by Matthew Hurtt, special to TNReport.com. Follow him on Twitter: @matthewhurtt