US & World

Lawmakers welcome President Obama asking for their OK on Syria

President Obama speaks about Syria from the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday.
President Obama speaks about Syria from the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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Lawmakers, many of whom had urged President Obama to seek authority from Congress before going ahead with a military strike against Syria, were largely positive about his decision to do just that.

The president, in a Rose Garden address on Saturday, said that the U.S. should respond militarily to Syria's Aug. 21 chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people, but that he would first seek authorization from Congress.

RELATED: Read California's representatives' stands on the Obama administration's approach to Syria

House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders issued a statement saying they had consulted with the president on Saturday and "we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th. This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the president's role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he has the support of lawmakers.

Southern California congressman Adam Schiff issued a statement responding to Obama's speech, saying, "For more than a week I have been urging the Speaker to reconvene the House given the gravity of the situation in Syria. Now that the President has called for a vote on a new authorization to use force, it is all the more essential that we be called back into session immediately."

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham said they could not support isolated military strikes without a wider strategy.

"We cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the president's stated goal of (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad's removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict, which is a growing threat to our national security interests," they said in a statement.

House minority leader and California congresswoman Rep. Nancy Pelosi issued a statement Saturday with her response to Obama's speech, saying,  "President Obama is right that the debate and authorization by Congress for action will make our country and the response in Syria stronger," adding, "I look forward to the debate."

New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel told CNN that asking Congress for an OK to use force was "the constitutional thing to do" but "I still don't see how our country is threatened."

KPCC staff reported on the reaction of California members of Congress. This story has been updated.