WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's push for a military strike in Syria is gaining significant momentum today. Leaders of both parties in Congress say they're convinced that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, and that the U.S. should respond.
Obama met today with more than a dozen lawmakers in the White House Cabinet Room to push for what he said would be limited strikes aimed at dismantling Assad's chemical weapons capabilities.
Afterward, House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) told reporters that a military response is something the United States "needs to do." He said he would support Obama's call for action, and that he believes his colleagues should do so as well.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also said they will support Obama because the U.S. has a compelling national security interest in preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction.
But there is still opposition within both parties. A spokesman for Boehner says passage of a resolution supporting military action is an "uphill battle." Dozens of conservative Republicans and several liberal Democrats have come out against intervention.
Pelosi said Americans need to hear more of the intelligence on Syria in order to be convinced that a strike is necessary. She says she hopes they will become convinced.
184-c-25-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)-"of mass destruction"-AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports the president has the backing of the two top republicans in the House. (3 Sep 2013)
<<CUT *184 (09/03/13)££ 00:25 "of mass destruction"
181-a-17-(House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, with reporters after meeting with the president)-"to be tolerated"-House Speaker John Boehner says he backs the president's plan for limited military action against Syria. (3 Sep 2013)
<<CUT *181 (09/03/13)££ 00:17 "to be tolerated"
185-a-10-(House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with reporters after meeting with the president)-"we must respond"-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says military action against Syria is justified. ((longer version of cut in wrap)) (3 Sep 2013)
<<CUT *185 (09/03/13)££ 00:10 "we must respond"
GRAPHICSBANK: Barack Obama headshot, as US President, speaks about the situation in Syria, Washington, DC, graphic element on gray (3 Sep 2013)
APPHOTO DCCK128: House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks into the West Wing of the White House in Washington Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, after speaking to the media following a meeting with President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Syria. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (3 Sep 2013)
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APPHOTO DCCK129: Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., , left, accompanied by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, following a meeting between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Syria. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (3 Sep 2013)
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