On Syria, Obama faces questions on Congress' role

August 28, 2014 - 2:04 AM
Obama Syria

FILE - This May 3, 2013 file photo president Barack Obama responding to a question about the ongoing situation in Syria during a news conference in San Jose, Costa Rica. One year ago, President Barack Obama was barreling toward airstrikes in Syria when he abruptly announced that he first wanted approval from congressional lawmakers. The move threw his policy into confusion and the strikes were eventually scrapped. Now, as Obama again contemplates military action in Syria, the White House is suggesting it may not be necessary to get a sign-off from Congress. While cautioning that Obama has made no final decisions, officials say there is a difference between last year’s effort to strike Syria’s government in retaliation for chemical weapons use and a bombing campaign against Islamic State militants that is now under consideration. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama faces a familiar question as he contemplates airstrikes in Syria: Should Congress have a say in his decision?

Just last summer Obama was barreling toward strikes in Syria when he abruptly announced that he first wanted approval from congressional lawmakers. But Congress balked at Obama's request, and the strikes were eventually scrapped.

This time around, the White House is suggesting it may not be necessary to get a sign-off from Congress.

While cautioning that Obama has made no final decisions, officials say there is a difference between last year's effort to attack Syria's government in retaliation for chemical weapons use and a bombing campaign against Islamic State militants threatening Americans in the region.

Earlier this month, Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq.