WASHINGTON-- Delaying what had appeared to be an imminent strike, President Barack Obama says he will seek congressional approval before launching any military action meant to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds. With Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea ready to strike, Obama appeared in the Rose Garden Saturday afternoon to announce he has decided the United States should take military action.
But he added that he also has determined the country "will be better off" if Congress renders its own opinion on the matter. At the same time, Obama challenged lawmakers to consider what message the U.S. will send to a dictator if he is allowed to kill hundreds of children with chemical weapons without suffering any retaliation.
This decision on the President's part could end causing Congress to go into an early session. Lawmakers aren't scheduled to return to session until Sept. 9.
The Associated Press reports that White House officials say Obama decided seeking approval would make the U.S. stronger even though he still believes he has the authority to act alone. In the meantime, some of Congress' Republicans are praising Obama's decision to seek Congress' nod before striking Syria.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the president's role as commander in chief is strengthened when he has the support of lawmakers. Florida's very own Senator, Marco Rubio (R) said, "I agree with the decision to seek Congressional approval before taking military action in Syria. And I believe Congress should return to Washington immediately and begin to debate this issue.
While, Senator Nelson (D-FL) said, "The president wants to put to rest any doubt the American people may have. I support the president's decision. But as far as I'm concerned, we should strike in Syria today. The use of chemical weapons was inhumane, and those responsible should be forced to suffer the consequences."