In a letter sent to the House Democrats Tuesday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated to her members that she believes the Syrian chemical attacks require a U.S. response.
Pelosi sent the letter following Tuesday's White House briefing, which most top-ranking members of Congress attended. After the meeting, Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner stated their support for President Obama's call for military action. The House is supposed to consider an authorization measure after they return from recess on Sept. 9.
House Democratic leadership had previously stated they would not whip votes, as is their custom for matters of war, but Pelosi's letter indicates that they will still be making sure that the rank-and-file members understand the leadership's position.
"It is in our national interest to respond to the Syrian government's unspeakable use of chemical weapons," Pelosi said in the letter, a copy of which was provided to TPM. "Indeed, it has been, and remains, a core pillar of our national security - under Democratic and Republican administrations - to prevent, limit, and halt the spread and use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. This is a matter of national, regional, and global security."
The full text is below:
September 3, 2013
The return of Congress next week will bring a serious and necessary debate on a resolution authorizing the limited and proportional use of force against the Syrian regime.
At this critical juncture, it is essential that we make all Americans - the men and women we represent - fully aware of what the intelligence clearly and unequivocally demonstrates: that the Assad regime was responsible for chemical weapons attacks against innocent Syrians, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children.
The evidence of these attacks is clear, convincing, and devastating. The American public must hear more of the intelligence and information available to our nation's leaders that led President Obama and his Administration to call for such action.
It is in our national interest to respond to the Syrian government's unspeakable use of chemical weapons. Indeed, it has been, and remains, a core pillar of our national security - under Democratic and Republican administrations - to prevent, limit, and halt the spread and use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. This is a matter of national, regional, and global security.
We appreciate President Obama's decision to consult Congress, to keep Members informed of the intelligence through the briefings and calls taking place with our Caucus, and to submit to Congress a resolution on the use of military force. The shape and content of the final resolution will depend on what Members can support.
We look forward to hearing any comments and questions you may have as we carefully discuss how to proceed and what steps to take. I appreciate those who have already offered their thoughts, comments, and opinions, and I look forward to working together on this challenge in the coming days. For many, ignoring Bashar Al-Assad's use of chemical weapons is a luxury humanity simply cannot afford.