Senators agreed after meeting with President Obama on Tuesday that they would wait to consider a resolution to authorize the use of U.S. military force against Syria to allow surprise diplomatic efforts to play out in the coming days.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) emerged from a more than hour-long meeting with Obama and Senate Democrats to declare that “Our schedule’s being driven by developments that are taking place not by some artificial timeline that we have here.”
Senators would begin reworking a resolution authorizing military action, Reid said, but added that “we have to make sure that the credible threat of military action remains. It’s important to understand that the only reason Russia is seeking an alternative to military action is that the president of the United States has made it very clear that we will act if we must.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a key GOP supporter of military action against Syria, agreed with Reid, saying: “I think it’s very important for us to keep on the table to ability to use military force, but I think at the same time it’s probably good for us just to take a pause. I see no reason for us to have [our] hair on fire.”
But several lawmakers remained skeptical of overtures from the Russian government made on a day packed with fast-moving developments. Sen. Charles E. Schemer (D-N.Y.), a frequent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that “There is hope, but not yet trust in what the Russians are doing.”