Boehner backs Obama on Syria strikes

In a big boost for the White House, House Speaker John Boehner says he will back President Obama's call for military strikes on Syria, arguing the world must respond to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons in an ongoing civil war.

"I'm going to support the President's call for action," Boehner told reporters after leaving a White House meeting.  "I believe my colleagues should support this call for action."

Boehner was quickly backed up by his top lieutenant, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who issued a statement echoing the President's calls for action.

"America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States," Cantor said.

Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued an appeal to her own party's rank and file, laying out her reasons for supporting strikes on the Syrian regime:

Dear Colleague, 

The return of Congress next week will bring a serious and necessary debate on a resolution authorizing the limited and proportional use of force against the Syrian regime. 

At this critical juncture, it is essential that we make all Americans – the men and women we represent – fully aware of what the intelligence clearly and unequivocally demonstrates: that the Assad regime was responsible for chemical weapons attacks against innocent Syrians, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children. 

The evidence of these attacks is clear, convincing, and devastating.  The American public must hear more of the intelligence and information available to our nation's leaders that led President Obama and his Administration to call for such action. 

It is in our national interest to respond to the Syrian government's unspeakable use of chemical weapons.  Indeed, it has been, and remains, a core pillar of our national security – under Democratic and Republican administrations – to prevent, limit, and halt the spread and use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.  This is a matter of national, regional, and global security.  

We appreciate President Obama's decision to consult Congress, to keep Members informed of the intelligence through the briefings and calls taking place with our Caucus, and to submit to Congress a resolution on the use of military force.  The shape and content of the final resolution will depend on what Members can support. 

We look forward to hearing any comments and questions you may have as we carefully discuss how to proceed and what steps to take.  I appreciate those who have already offered their thoughts, comments, and opinions, and I look forward to working together on this challenge in the coming days.  For many, ignoring Bashar Al-Assad's use of chemical weapons is a luxury humanity simply cannot afford. 

Democratic Leader

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