KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - Members of Congress Washington will soon be asked to vote on President Barack Obama's request to use military force in Syria.
A civil war involving rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has raged in Syria for years, killing tens of thousands. Now, the U.S. government says there is clear evidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against its own citizens. President Obama proposed a retaliatory strike, but asked Congress to approve it.
All of the Michigan elected officials 24 Hour News 8 has spoken to in recent days have had reservations. Some were leaning towards a no vote. Others will likely vote yes.
The Senate, according to observers, is likely to go along with the White House. But longtime Rep. Fed Upton (R-St. Joseph) says the House will be a much tougher sell and that the resolution will likely fail there.
Upton's time in Washington goes back to working on Capitol Hill as a staffer in the 1970s. He knows how to count votes.
"The House is a whole different story," he told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. "And even though [Speaker John] Boehner and [Rep. Eric] Cantor, our two leaders of the House Republicans, have come out in support of it, they've made it pretty clear that this really is a vote of conscience. That we are each going to assemble our each information, decide what to do. And I think it will be very tough for this administration to pass the same time of resolution in the House as they are likely to pass come next Wednesday in the Senate."
The outcome of that vote could have a big impact beyond just Syria. Congress has a long list of issues its still has to tackle, including budget battles and the debt ceiling.
"It's not a secret that this administration has had pretty lousy relations with the Congress. I hear that from Democrats; certainly on the Republican side," Upton said. "There's been no outreach, there's no contacts. As they look probably at the most decisive thing perhaps in this second term of his presidency, maybe that will establish the legacy of his presidency, he's not done the homework, the ground work to really foster the relations, earning the trust on an issue like this."
The full Senate will likely take up the president's request next week. Depending on how close leadership thinks the vote will be in the House, it could be pushed back to the week of Sept. 16.
A driver escaped safely after its vehicle crashed into the Grand River in Ottawa County Friday morning.
We get a brief break from the "lake-effect machine" Friday.
A few flurries occurred Thursday night. Lows held in the teens and the wind relaxed to the 5 to 10 mph range, with 20s at the Lake Michigan.