Reid said that the U.S. must ensure Russia is serious about pressuring Syria to give up its chemical weapons to the United Nations and that the discussions are "not merely a ploy to delay military action," and that the threat of U.S. force must stay on the table for those negotiations to succeed.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin called on the U.S. to take the threat of force off the table, according to Russian state TV. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told reporters the remarks reveal Putin's cards.
"That suggests he's worried about the threat of force, which is exactly what Syria should worry about," Levin said in response to a question from TPM. "He's helped to identify exactly what the motivation is for them finally doing what they should have done a long time ago. Sign the chemical weapons convention and not have chemical weapons."
"You've got to have the prospect of a military strike," he said.
Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) told reporters that a military strike "is probably off for a period of time" while the U.S. assesses the "credibility" of the solution being discussed with Syria and Russia.
"I think it's very important that the use of force stay on the table while these negotiations are occurring. Otherwise there'll be no negotiations. It's just A to B to C," he said, pointing out that the offer from Syria and Russia emerged after the Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize the use of force to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
A group of senators closely involved in the Syria issue met Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol to discuss tweaking the language of the use of force resolution in order to incorporate a possible diplomatic solution. Obama favored the use of limited military action and appealed to Congress for approval after reports surfaced that the Syrian regime had allegedly used chemical weapons to murder more than 1,400 of its own people in late August. The exact text of the updated resolution hasn't yet been released.
"There's a group that's working on it," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a member of the group. "We're doing everything in coordination with the White House. Everything."
Will the diplomatic solution succeed?
"It's too soon for me to be optimistic or pessimistic," Levin said.
Corker said he's not very optimistic "given who we're dealing with."