POLITICS: PennAve

John Boehner: Obama has obligation to consult Congress on Syria, meets with White House

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House Speaker John Boehner has met with the White House regarding Syria, his spokesman said Monday.

“This afternoon, the Speaker had preliminary communication with the White House about the situation in Syria and any potential U.S. response,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. “The Speaker made clear that before any action is taken there must be meaningful consultation with members of Congress, as well as clearly defined objectives and a broader strategy to achieve stability.”

With potential military action against Syria under consideration by the White House, House Speaker John Boehner send out a statement earlier Monday urging President Obama to consult with Congress and explain his decision to the American people.

“The president is commander-in-chief.  With that power comes obligations,” Boehner said.  “One, of course, is to consult with Congress on the options he sees as a viable response,” Boehner said. “Meaningful consultation should happen before any military action is taken.”
A Boehner aide told the Washington Examiner earlier that no one from the Obama administration or his national security team has contacted Congress about actions they are considering against the Assad regime, which administration officials believe was responsible for the recent chemical weapons attack against its own citizens.
Boehner cited poll numbers that show Americans don’t want to get involved in a new conflict.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Aug. 25 found that 60 percent of Americans do not want President Obama to intervene in Syria’s civil war while just 9 percent said the United States should get involved. The number of those who support intervention increased to 25 percent if it is shown that chemical weapons have been used.
The shallow support for intervention, Boehner said,”underscores the need for the president to fully explain what is at stake and outline why he believes action is necessary.”

Update: White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday that Congress has, in fact, been consulted, but he would provide no details.

“Members of Congress have been consulted and those consultations will continue – we don’t want to read out specific consultations,”  Carney said.
When asked which members have been consulted and whether the president would seek Congressional approval, Carney said: “Members of Congress with a particular interest in this matter have been consulted. I don’t want to speculate what Congress might do.”

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