Obama to Seek Vote of Congress on Syria

President seeks vote of Congress before taking military action against Syria.

President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he makes a statement about Syria in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.
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President Barack Obama said Saturday he wants to wait for congressional approval before moving ahead with military action in Syria that he says is warranted.

"This menace must be confronted," he said, over the chants of anti-war protesters outside the White House. "I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress."

[READ: Britain Out, France in for Looming U.S. Strike in Syria]

Top White House officials have been calling for action after U.S. intelligence confirmed chemical weapons were used in an attack by Syrian government forces that left more than 1,400 – including more than 400 children – of their own people dead on Aug. 21. Congress has been periodically briefed on the events and the Obama administration says it will continue to do so.


House Speaker John Boehner said he's pleased the president is seeking congressional approval in response to "serious, substantive questions" members have.

"In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of Sept. 9," he said in a release. "This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people."

[READ: Kerry Makes Case for Military Strike in Syria]

Obama said he's convinced military force is necessary, but has been advised that a specific timetable does not need to be established.

"After careful deliberation I have decided the United States should take military action against Syrian targets," Obama said. "I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons."

Syria has been in the midst of a civil war for two years with more than 100,000 estimated killed. Secretary of State John Kerry made an impassioned case for U.S. military action Friday, timed with the release of a declassified report from the White House that detailed the evidence of a chemical weapons attack allegedly perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

[OPINION: Should Obama Wait for Congress on Syria?]

But members of Congress and the international community have been mixed in their support for a military strike. Britain's parliament voted Thursday against intervention and Germany has said it will remain on the sidelines. Russian and Chinese representatives walked out of a U.N. Security Council meeting when British officials sought to offer a resolution against Assad. But France has vowed to stand with the United States.

It's unclear how Congress would vote on military action in Syria, as recent polling shows the American public firmly opposes it.

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