U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine said Saturday he "strongly" supports President Obama's decision to get authorization from Congress to take action in Syria.“I strongly support the President’s decision to seek congressional approval of military action in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons," said Kaine in a statement released Saturday by his Senate office. Kaine, a Democrat, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs. Syria is located in southwestern Asia.
"I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress," Obama said Saturday during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. "The world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical attack of the 21st century," Obama said. (Read a transcript on the Washington Post Web site of Obama's full remarks.)
Congress is set to return from its August recess on Monday, Sept. 9.
"Our nation is stronger in military matters when we act in a united fashion," said Kaine, a former governor of Virginia. "The opportunity to fully debate this difficult situation will help educate the American public about the important issues at stake and ultimately provide a political consensus that our servicemembers must be able to rely on."
"The decision about whether or not to use military force in response to the Syrian atrocities raises significant issues that should be considered and debated by Congress," U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said. "This debate will help define how America views its role as a world power."
"The tone that we use while having this discussion also is vitally important," Warner said. "These are issues that should not break down along typical partisan lines, and the debate will provide an opportunity to demonstrate that America's elected leadership can come together to resolve serious issues. People across the country and indeed around the world will be watching closely as the world's greatest democracy debates, and then decides, these important questions."
According to Reuters, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House will consider a measure on Syrian military action the week of Sept. 9, when lawmakers return from recess.
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-11th) said Saturday, via Twitter: "I call on Speaker Boehner to convene the House to debate and vote on Syria by Wednesday of next week."
Northern Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf (R-10th) told WTOP Friday that "the British Parliament came back and they voted. So if the British Parliament can come back, then Congress ought to come back," Wolf said in an interview with the radio station. Wolf signed a letter earlier this week, along with more than 100 other members of Congress, urging the president to seek authorization from Congress before taking any action against Syria.
In July, Kaine announced efforts to reform the 1973 War Powers Resolution in a way that lays out a clear consultative process between Congress and the President on whether and when to engage in military action, according to the news release.
Recently, Kaine has called for the President to fully consult with Congress before initiating military action in Syria and advocated a debate and authorization of military action, before or shortly after any strike occurs.