Blog Posts by Chris Moody, Yahoo News

  • Senate formally puts Syria resolution vote on hold

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday removed from immediate consideration a proposed resolution authorizing military force against Syria in response to a request from President Barack Obama.

    The move will provide U.S. officials time to negotiate a diplomatic solution with the war-torn nation.

    “We’ve agreed on a way forward based on the president's speech last night,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said on the Senate floor. “The president has asked Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force in Syria and pursue a diplomatic solution to see if that works.”

    Just days after Obama called on lawmakers to support a resolution approving a “limited” strike on the Syrian government over the alleged use of chemical weapons, the president visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday and urged them to delay a vote. He cited the possibility of a pending deal with the Russian government that would require Syria to turn over its chemical arsenal and join a pact against using such weapons in the

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  • Paul Ryan a firm ‘no’ on military strike against Syria

    Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and former vice presidential candidate, broke his silence Wednesday about a possible U.S. strike against Syria, calling President Barack Obama’s military threat an “ill-conceived, half-hearted proposal.”

    "I believe the president's proposed military strike in Syria cannot achieve its stated objectives. In fact, I fear it will make things worse,” Ryan said in a statement. “The president says a show of force will preserve our credibility. But a feckless show of force will only damage our credibility.”

    Ryan’s comments came a day after Obama asked members of Congress to delay a vote on a resolution that would authorize a strike. The delay, Obama said, would provide time to pursue a diplomatic solution in cooperation with the Russian government that would force Syria to turn over its arsenal of chemical weapons to international authorities. Obama also told lawmakers that the threat of a U.S. strike needed to remain on the table throughout the

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  • Obama’s message to Congress on Syria: Give it time and don’t undermine the process

    President Barack Obama traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday where he urged senators to provide time for diplomatic discussions regarding Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles by delaying a vote on a resolution authorizing military force, lawmakers said after the meeting.

    According to senators who met with Obama — he spoke first to Senate Democrats and then Senate Republicans during private luncheons — the president believes it is necessary to keep the possibility of a U.S. military strike on the table in order to convince the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons. But he said more time is needed for talks between U.S. officials and the Russian government about an alternative diplomatic solution.

    In other words, as Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe paraphrased Obama’s message: “Hang loose. Give me a chance.”

    “The president clearly believes that the threat of force is what is moving the crisis along and has produced this new proposal by the Russians,” said Maine Republican

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  • Boehner ‘skeptical’ of Russia plan on Syria 'because of the actors that are involved'

    House Speaker John Boehner is “skeptical” about an offer from the Russian government for a diplomatic solution to avoid a U.S. attack on Syria.

    “Clearly, diplomacy is always a better outcome than military action. But I will say I’m somewhat skeptical of those that are involved in the diplomatic discussion today,” Boehner said Tuesday of the Russian plan to have Syrian President Bashar Assad relinquish his chemical weapons to international control.

    Boehner’s comments echoed President Barack Obama’s remarks about the Russian solution. In interviews Monday evening, the president said Syria’s potential willingness to give up its chemical arsenal would represent a “significant breakthrough," but cautioned that “you have to take it with a grain of salt.”

    “We have to be skeptical because this is not how we've seen them operate over the last couple of years,” Obama told NBC News.

    Obama is planning to speak to Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Senate, many of whom are skeptical of the

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  • House Democrats betting Syria won’t be a major issue during 2014 elections

    The possibility of a U.S. strike on Syria may drive public discussions today, but the debate over military action won’t be a significant issue for House candidates during the midterm elections next year, New York Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said.

    "2014 is not going to be a referendum on Syria," Israel, who is responsible for electing Democrats to the House, told reporters during a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday.

    Many Democrats have pushed back against President Barack Obama's call for Congress to OK a military strike against the Syrian government, which the administration believes killed more than 1,400 Syrians in a chemical attack on civilians in August. The U.S. is in talks with Russia to resolve the issue diplomatically so long as Syria turns over its chemical weapons to international authorities.

    Israel argued that the attention to Syria would “evaporate” by the next election, whether

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  • Senate vote on Syria may be delayed

    A few hours after announcing that the Senate would take a procedural vote Wednesday to approve a U.S. military strike on Syria, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed course and chose not to file for cloture on the resolution, a move that could delay the vote.

    Speaking on the Senate floor Monday night, Reid cited the ongoing diplomatic talks with Russia regarding the civil war in Syria and said he wanted to give President Barack Obama more time to make his case for the military strike before moving to a test vote on the resolution.

    "Tomorrow the president is going to brief the Democratic caucus and the Republican caucus separately. He's going to address the nation tomorrow night. As we all know, the international discussions continue relative to the matter in Syria. Normally, what I would do in a situation like this is file cloture today. But I don't think that's to our benefit,” Reid said. “I don't think we need to see how fast we can do this. We have to see how well we can do this

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  • Harry Reid schedules first Senate vote on Syria strike authorization for Wednesday

    In an emotional plea in favor of a U.S. strike against Syria, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday called for lawmakers to support military action and scheduled the first vote on an authorization resolution for Wednesday — Sept. 11.

    “The evidence of the Assad regime ... using outlawed nerve agents against its own citizens is clear and very convincing,” the Nevada Democrat said from the Senate floor.

    The procedural vote on the Syria resolution will notably occur on the twelfth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, when more than 3,000 people were killed in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania by Islamic extremists on Sept. 11, 2001. Should it pass, the Senate will likely proceed to a final vote later in the week.

    Reid, who declared his support for President Barack Obama’s call for a military strike in August, said he watched video on Monday morning showing the aftermath of the alleged chemical attack in Syria that the administration says justifies the use of

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  • Bobby Jindal skeptical about case for Syria strike

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has joined a growing chorus of prominent Republicans who remain skeptical about President Barack Obama’s call for launching a military strike against the Syrian government.

    When reached by Yahoo News through a spokesman, Jindal, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, raised questions about the effectiveness of a U.S. attack on Syria.

    “The president is asking for authority he admits he does not need, to do something that he ensures us won’t have much effect, in order to produce an outcome he refuses to define,” Jindal told Yahoo News in an email. “I’m always open to hearing the president make his case, but he hasn’t even tried thus far.”

    The Obama administration has accused the Syrian government of waging chemical warfare against its citizens, and has called for a “limited” U.S. military attack on Syria to discourage future use of such weapons.

    Obama will have an opportunity to make that case to the public this week. The

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  • GOP 2016 hopefuls don’t want their fingerprints near Obama’s Syria plan

    Of the possible candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, not one potential 2016 hopeful has voiced support for President Barack Obama’s call for a U.S. military strike on Syria.

    The hesitancy to authorize an attack against the Syrian government, which the Obama administration alleges was behind a chemical gas attack that killed more than 1,000 civilians in August, suggests that those eyeing possible bids for the White House see the Syria issue as a gamble not worth their bet.

    The possible candidates — Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan; and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin — have either said they oppose it or remained silent about their opinion.

    It is often the case in politics that the safest place to be is on the losing side of a winning vote, especially if the bill is controversial. Regarding Syria, the

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  • Chemical weapons argument isn’t enough to sway some lawmakers on Syria

    For many lawmakers being asked to authorize a U.S. strike on Syria in the coming weeks, the evidence that the Syrian government used deadly chemical weapons against its people appears sound. But that alone isn't enough to convince them to approve a military strike against the nation.

    After a series of public and classified briefings on Capitol Hill conducted by top-level aides from the Obama Administration, most lawmakers from both parties are still hesitant to declare how they plan to vote, even though many are convinced that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was likely behind the Aug. 21 chemical attacks that left more than 1,000 civilians dead.

    “I’ve taken a look at the classified documents and after having gone through this briefing, the evidence is clear that chemical weapons were used,” Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard told reporters after sitting through a classified hearing Thursday about the situation in Syria. “I’m undecided.”

    The real debate, many

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