John Boehner, Eric Cantor back military intervention Syria

The White House scored a victory yesterday by convincing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to support military intervention in Syria, hoping that the two will be able to gather support from skeptical Republicans.

President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders yesterday a the White House to make his case for intervention in the Syrian civil war after the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“These weapons have to be responded to. Only the United States has the capacity and the capability to stop Assad or warn others around the world that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” said Boehner after the meeting. “I appreciate the president reaching out to me and my colleagues in Congress over the past few weeks.”

Cantor followed suit. I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria,” he said in a statement.

“Bashar Assad’s Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism, is the epitome of a rogue state, and it has long posed a direct threat to American interests and to our partners,” he added. “The ongoing civil war in Syria has enlarged this threat.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who also attended the meeting with President Obama, is still skeptical about intervention.

Having Boehner and Cantor on board doesn’t mean that House Republicans will support military action in Syria. The two leaders have had a hard time corralling their caucus on various legislative issues, and there is already much skepticism from many on Syria, though many are reserving judgment until they hear the White House’s case for intervention.

Josh Krushaar from the National Journal noted yesterday that Republicans aren’t the only hurdle that President Obama needs to jump to get his war with Syria. He pointed to some House Democrats that are strongly against the United States getting involved in another military conflict, though the White House will rely heavily on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who supports intervention, to get the votes they need.

There are some outlets that are keeping track of the vote. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what happens in the Senate, where opposition to military strikes is more tame. The House is the major roadblock.

The Washington Post shows that 130 members of the House either leaning no or steadfastly against military action in Syria. Only 17 members support intervention. ThinkProgress, however, shows stronger opposition in the House, with 153 members opposing intervention and 47 members supporting the position of the White House.

The vote is likely to happen next week when Congress returns from recess. Contact the representatives from your state and ask them to please vote against military intervention in Syria.

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