House Republican leaders are leaning toward allowing the Senate to take the first vote on President Obama’s Syria resolution, and would likely decline to bring it up for a vote if it failed in the Democratic chamber, according to GOP sources.
The Republican leadership has not announced official plans for how the GOP-controlled House might handle Obama’s request for authorization to use military force against Syria. But this would not be the first time Republicans chose to let the Senate vote first on an Obama priority before deciding whether it would be considered in the House.
House Republicans employed that strategy earlier this year on gun control legislation, which never received a House vote after it failed in the Senate. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the two top House Republicans, announced their support for the resolution, but made clear that they would leave it to Obama to build support for it.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution authorizing U.S. military action against Syria on a 10-7 vote, with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., voting “present.” The full Senate is expected to debate and vote on the measure next week, when Congress reconvenes from its summer recess.
If the Senate passes the resolution and sends it to the House, Republican leaders would have to decide whether it goes first to the Foreign Affairs Committee or proceeds directly to the floor. Or, the House could consider its own resolution. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., authored their own narrower proposal that would impose limits on any military action Obama takes.