This was supposed to be a quiet week in Washington with Congress still on vacation and President Obama jetting off to Russia for the G-20 meetings. Well forget it. The threat of Syrian air-strikes—and Obama's surprise move to seek Congressional approval—changed all that.
The Senate Foreign Relations committee meets Tuesday afternoon in a special session to hear the case for strikes from Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Expect both to get peppered with questions on how limited any strikes will be, what the U.S. expects to accomplish and what the administration will do if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad escalates his attacks on his own people in the face of a U.S. attack.
There is a great deal riding on the answers.
Because if Obama loses votes in Congress on air strikes it would deal a sharp blow to his presidency and possibly weaken his hand in dealing with Republicans later this month on passing a resolution to keep the government open and raising the debt ceiling some time in October. There is also the question of whether failed votes would embolden Assad and further destabilize the Middle East possibly further boosting oil prices and denting economic growth around the world.
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