Others left little doubt that a change in Syria policy to a more aggressive posture was inevitable if the report proved true.
“The use of chemical weapons has to be regarded with the most serious and stern response and puts the entire conflict in a different context,” said Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal, a member of Senate Armed Services Committee.
Several Republicans, meanwhile, made it clear that they blame the Obama administration for not intervening more actively earlier.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said that if chemical weapons have been used, military action should be the U.S. response.
“Obviously you have to confirm the reports that have come out, but the president has said that if Assad uses chemical weapons that that is a red line,” Chambliss said. “There are a number of us who think we probably should have been more involved even at this point, so I would hope and I would expect that he would take much stronger action if that does prove to be the case, if they used chemical, or biological weapons.”
Asked what action he would recommend, Chambliss said, “That is for the military folks to tell us, but obviously military action of some sort, of some degree, I would hope would be proposed.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.