Cornyn Wants Congress Back to Debate Syria

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Whip John Cornyn on Saturday became the first top Senate leader to call for Congress to return early from the August recess to debate an authorization for the use of force in Syria.

"Before any military action is taken in Syria, the president should call Congress back into session and ask for a vote on the authorization to use force," the Texas Republican said in a statement emailed to reporters Saturday.

Cornyn's statement came ahead of remarks President Barack Obama was due to deliver on the administration's thinking regarding a response to the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

The statement also came in advance of a conference call between Senate Republicans and senior administration officials including Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The same group of officials will also brief Senate Democrats.

Cornyn had previously criticized the Obama administration for not providing an effective explanation of the response to events on the ground in Syria, though many other Senate leaders have reserved comment.