Boehner said only the United States has the capability and the capacity to stop Assad. "We have enemies around the world that need to understand that we're not going to tolerate this type of behavior. We also have allies around the world and allies in the region who also need to know that America will be there and stand up when it's necessary," he said.
Boehner was the only Republican to speak to reporters after the White House meeting and he took no questions. Cantor announced his support in a statement that argued, "America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States."
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell also attended the meeting, but did not commit to supporting authorization afterward and instead encouraged the president to keep updating the public. "While we are learning more about his plans, Congress and our constituents would all benefit from knowing more about what it is he thinks needs to be done — and can be accomplished — in Syria and the region," he said in a statement.
After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, polls show most Americans opposed to any new military action overseas. Their skepticism is shared by many tea party Republicans and others, whose views range from ideological opposition to any U.S. military action overseas to narrower fears about authorizing the use of force without clear constraints on timing, costs and scope of the intervention.
Obama's task is complicated further because he leaves for a three-day trip to Europe on Tuesday night, visiting Stockholm, Sweden and then attending the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Vice President Joe Biden's office said he was postponing a trip to Florida Thursday to stay in Washington and work on Syria while Obama is away.
Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Donna Cassata and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.