Top National Security Advisor: Obama Unlikely to Attack Syria Without Congressional Backing

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A top national security advisor told NPR this morning that President Barack Obama is unlikely to strike Syria if he doesn’t secure Congressional approval.

“The president has authority to act, but it’s neither his desire nor his intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him,” Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told “Morning Edition.”

The Obama administration, until now, didn’t indicate whether the president would forego Congress’ decision if the measure was voted down. Zoë Carpenter of The Nation argued that Congress needs the administration to clarify before the vote, so that legislators know their decision is binding.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has argued that the Congressional vote must be binding, in accordance with the Constitution.

“If we do not say that the Constitution applies, if we do not say explicitly that we will abide by this vote, you’re making a joke of us. You’re making us into theater, and so we play constitutional theater for the president. If this is real, you will abide by the verdict of Congress,” he told Secretary of State John Kerry during Tuesday’s Congressional hearing.

“Senator,” Kerry responded. “I assure you there is nothing meaningless and there is everything real about what is happening here.”

Public statements from 407 Representatives indicated that 213 have either completely ruled out attacking Syria or are unlikely to back it, according to ThinkProgress. Only 44 Representatives were decidedly for the measure.

Sources: Raw Story, The Nation Blog, ThinkProgress