Despite Leadership Support For War A Lot Of Opposition

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The Hill’s Syria Whip List: Tough work for Obama to win votes for strike

The White House faces a tough task in convincing a majority in the House and Senate to approve authorization for a military strike against Syria.

The administration is pulling out all the stops to convince lawmakers, but Democrats and Republicans alike are seeking more answers from the White House on the U.S. mission in Syria.

Some on the right and the left have already staked out firm opposition. The White House has found two key GOP allies: Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could also play a significant role in helping the White House round up votes on the left.

The measure is expected to pass the Senate, but its prospects in the House are dimmer. Most House Republicans who have taken a stance are vowing to vote no, or are leaning no.

The following is the The Hill’s whip list on Syria.

Recent updates: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Rep. Steve Sourtherland (R-Fla.), Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

—Last updated on Sept. 3 at 8:44 p.m.

YES/LEANING YES

Senate (15)

Bob Casey (D-Pa.) — Said Saturday that it’s in the U.S. interest to respond to most recent chemical attack.

Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — Said Saturday a red line was crossed a long time ago and the U.S. “must respond.”

Chris Coons (D-Del.) — Said on MSNBC he’s “inclined” to support the president, but made clear that he is not a firm yes.

Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) — Remarks suggest he will vote yes.

Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — Said before Obama’s request for congressional authorization that the world could not let such a heinous attack pass without meaningful response.

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — Working closely with the White House on Syria.

Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) — Said chemical attack requires “a strong response that will prevent this from happening again.”

Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) — Said he supports military action.

Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) — On Facebook, said he’d support “a narrow authorization for a missile strike targeting those responsible for using chemical weapons.”

Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) — Judiciary Committee chairman is revising the White House’s resolution.

John McCain (R-Ariz.) — Said it would be “catastrophic” if Congress were to reject legislation.

Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) — Foreign Relations panel chairman is working on the measure.

Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) — Has called on the president to act before Congress votes.

Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — Senate majority leader backs the president.

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — The third-ranking Democrat in the Senate said he could support a limited strike.

YES/LEANING YES

House (15)

John Boehner (R-Ohio) — Speaker to support military action in big boost for Obama.

Eric Cantor (R-Va.) — Boehner’s second in command also backs strike.

Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) — Tweeted Monday that the evidence of a chemical attack is strong. He is working with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on a resolution.

Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) — Said on Twitter that he stands behind Obama’s call for a “targeted and limited response.”

Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) — The top Dem on the Foreign Affairs Committee backs the president.

Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — Second-ranking House Dem tweeted Friday that he agreed with the White House that the use of chemical weapons by Syria was unacceptable.

Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) — Backs limited strike.

Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) — Has publicly backed the president.

Luke Messer (R-Ind.) — Before attending a classified briefing on Sunday, Messer said on MSNBC, “I could support a strike on Syria.”

Jim Moran (D-Va.) — In a release, Moran said, “Now it is up to one of the most divisive, least productive Congresses in history to authorize an intervention and protect the credibility and viability of a U.S. response to Assad’s horrific crimes against humanity.”

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — House minority leader will be a key player on resolution.

Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) — Intelligence panel chairman predicts resolution will pass Congress.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) — Democratic National Committee chairwoman said on CNN that the “world cannot let such a heinous attack pass without a meaningful response.”

Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) — Has floated a new resolution that is much narrower than Obama’s.

Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) — Supports the president.

NO/LEANING NO

Senate (6)

John Boozman (R-Ark.) — Leaning no.

James Inhofe (R-Okla.) — Ranking member of the Armed Services Committee disagrees with McCain, says he cannot support action because of budget cuts.

Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) — Said U.S. “cannot afford another conflict that taxes our resources without achieving goals that advance American interests.” Moran heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — 2016 possible White House candidate has been a critic of military intervention in Syria.

Jim Risch (R-Idaho) — “I’m extremely reluctant.”

Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) — Former Intelligence panel chairman issues scathing rebuke of Obama, says the president has no exit plan.

NO/LEANING NO

House (44)

Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) — Told 48 News he needs to be convinced there is a direct threat to the U.S., adding he doesn’t believe that now.

Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — Firm no.

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) — Tweeted that she’s “adamantly opposed” to military action.

Michael Burgess (R-Texas) — Burgess says U.S. action in Syria would be very risky.

Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) — Chaffetz is opposed, according to ksl.com.

Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) — On Sept. 1, he told 41 Action News he would vote no if the vote took place that day.

Tom Cole (R-Okla.) — House deputy whip is leaning no.

Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) — Tweeted Saturday it was impreative that Obama explore alternatives.

Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) — Said on MSNBC he is leaning no.

Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) — Iraq war veteran is against military action in Syria.

John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) — Firm no. He says, “I simply do not want to see any young Americans killed in Syria.” Duncan was one of the few Republicans who voted against the Iraq war.

Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) — “I cannot support military action against Syria at this time.” 

Sam Farr (D-Calif.) — Recent remarks suggest he is leaning no.

John Fleming (R-La.) — “As the situation now stands, I will vote against U.S. military action on Syria.”

Randy Forbes (R-Va.) — Said on Fox News on Sunday that taking military action is not in nation’s best interests.

Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) — Opposed.

Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) — Says the president has not yet convinced the public.

Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) — Iraq war veteran said on Facebook he urges a no vote.

Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) — Grayson is rallying support against the measure.

Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) — Leaning no.

Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) — A solid no: “It is not the time for Americans to be subjected to the potential of yet another unwinnable overseas war.”

Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) — Said on Facebook that he agrees with constituents and sees no evidence of U.S. interests in Syrian war.

Sam Johnson (R-Texas) — Decorated combat veteran has a slew of questions on the mission and appears to be leaning no.

Walter Jones (R-N.C.) — Critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a firm no.

Peter King (R-N.Y.) — Said on Fox News Sunday he is leaning no; he didn’t believe Congress needed to vote on Syria.

Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) — Senate candidate told WSAV-TV he is leaning no.

Tom Marino (R-Pa.) — Is “absolutely opposed to any intervention in Syria at this time.”

Jim Matheson (D-Utah) — Matheson is opposed, according to ksl.com.

Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) — Wants answers to many questions.

Candice Miller (R-Mich.) — Says the “case has not been made” for action.

Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) — Is strongly opposed to a military strike.

Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) — Sent letter to Obama on Friday opposing military intervention.

Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) — Reiterated his view that the military draft must be reinstated before an attack on Syria.

Scott Rigell (R-Va.) — Leaning no.

Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) — Said U.S. shouldn’t try to police Syria.

Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) — After attending Sunday’s briefing, said in a statement he doesn’t support military force at this time.

Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) — Told WSAV-TV he is in the “no” column.

José Serrano (D-N.Y.) — Citing Iraq and other reasons, Serrano says that “we must not get our country involved in another war.”

Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) — Tweeted Monday that she doesn’t think intervention is the answer at the moment.

John Shimkus (R-Ill.) — Said “I am not convinced that a limited strike against Syria at this time is warranted.”

Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) — Southerland says an overwhelming number of his constituents are opposed.

Michael Turner (R-Ohio) — He says he’s a no until sequestration is lifted.

Frank Wolf (R-Va.) — Leaning no. In a letter to the president, Wolf states he has deep reservations about military intervention

Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) — Said on Facebook an attack is “not warranted at this time.”

UNDECIDED/NOT CLEAR

Senate (14)

Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)

Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

John Cornyn (R-Texas) — The No. 2-ranking Senate Republican has called on President Obama to address the nation on Syria.

Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) — Has called evidence “circumstantial.”

Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) — Undecided.

Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) — Says there are “so many unanswered questions” during Sept. 3 CNBC interview. But also says if U.S. doesn’t lead, the world becomes a more dangerous place.

Angus King (I-Maine)

Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — Armed Services Committee chairman said President Obama made “strong case,” but hasn’t endorsed plan for military action.

Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — Actively seeking advice from West Virginia residents.

Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — Wants more information on what needs to be done and what can be accomplished in Syria.

Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)

UNDECIDED/NOT CLEAR

House (31)

Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) — Told ABC5 News: “I’m waiting for the president to make the case on the possible use of force and the aftermath.”

David Cicilline (D-R.I.) — Said on MSNBC he is “skeptical.”

Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) — No.3-ranking House Democrat: “Issues of war and peace rquire thoughtful consideration. I reserve judgment on Syria until a resolution and more details are forthcoming.”

Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) — Has not made up his mind but told WKRN-TV he is “extremely leery.”

Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)

Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.)

Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.)

Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) — Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus is undecided.

Jim Himes (D-Conn.)

Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) — Believes that the international community must some take type of action against Syria. Her statement indicates she’s more likely a yes than a no.

Bill Johnson (R-Ohio)

Dale Kildee (D-Mich.)

Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — A spokesman for the House majority whip said McCarthy is weighing “the information and intelligence presented to him by the president and his national security team.”

Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) — Armed Services panel chairman is undecided.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) — Fourth-ranked GOP leader says she is skeptical.

Richard Neal (D-Mass.) — Noted in his statement that he voted against the Iraq War.

Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) — Wants details on what the mission will be.

Joe Pitts (R-Pa.)

Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)

Trey Radel (R-Fla.)

Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)

Martha Roby (R-Ala.)

Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — “The president has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria. He needs to clearly demonstrate that the use of military force would strengthen America’s security.”

Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)

Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)

Bobby Scott (D-Va.) — Expressed concern about precedent the U.S. would be setting by approving an attack.

Chris Stewart (R-Utah)

Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.)

David Valadao (R-Calif.)

Randy Weber (R-Texas)

Brad Wenstrup (R-Okla.)

Please send any updates to Bob Cusack at [email protected].

Russell Berman, Kevin Bogardus, Alexander Bolton, Bob Cusack, Jeremy Herb, Pete Kasperowicz, Keith Laing, Mike Lillis, Carlo Munoz, Vicki Needham, Julian Notaro, Rebecca Shabad, Ian Swanson and Erik Wasson contributed. 

  • Jo

    I suspect that these leanings are false. I think there’s a quiet intent to bomb Syria and all this posturing is to make it look like they actually care about the Syrians and what the public of the US wants. this was a done deal a year ago when Obama drew the line in the sand. Connect the dots. this is for MIC and banks…oil and minerals.