The apparent delay comes as an increasing number of senators announced opposition to the use of force resolution, at least as currently drafted. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III went further, saying he would oppose limiting debate at the end of work on the underlying resolution unless changes are made.
Obama took credit for getting Syria and Russia to budge.
“I think what we’re seeing is that a credible threat of a military strike from the United States, supported potentially by a number of other countries around the world has given them pause and makes them consider whether or not they would make this move. And if they do, then this could potentially be a significant breakthrough,” he said.
He continued the theme on CBS. “We need to keep the pressure on and tomorrow I’ll have the opportunity to explain to the American people just why it is that this chemical weapons ban is so important,” he said, referring to his prime time address Tuesday night. He said keeping the norm against chemical weapons would ultimately protect U.S. troops on the battlefield and make it less likely that chemical weapons get in the hands of terrorists.
Corker also credited the threat of force for getting Russia and China to budge. “While at this point I have healthy skepticism that this offer will change the situation and it will be several days before we can fully determine its credibility, I do know that it never would have been floated if the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had not approved the authorization for the use of force last week,” he said in a statement.
Obama, for his part, repeatedly dismissed the capability of the Syrian regime to retaliate against the United States.
“Syria doesn’t have significant capabilities to retaliate against us,” he said on NBC. “Iran does. But Iran is not going to risk a war with the United States over this. Particularly given that our goal here is to make sure that chemical weapons are not used on children.”
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.