Update 8:00 PM:   We’ve now passed the 217 mark of lean no plus firm no, with 217 being the number of votes needed to carry the House.  Which means that the White House will have to pull from the pool of vocal critics in order to win the vote.

Visit Firedoglake’s Syria Whip Count Page

Things are looking pretty grim today for the pro-bombing camp in Congress.  Firedoglake’s latest whip count indicates that there are 94 firm “nay” votes and 99 “lean nay,” which means the world of potential “nay” votes is approaching the magic 217 votes needed to stop passage.

Syria War Vote Count Thursday Sept 5 2013

Democrats Republicans Total
Firm Nay 23 83 106
Firm Yea 20 10 30
Leaning Nay 42 78 120
Leaning Yea 25 7 32

Nobody believes that all of those votes are firm — Betty McCollum, who had previously been a solid “no” vote, became the first to publicly cave and sign on to the Van Hollen/Connelly bill that authorizes bombing for a limited time but prevents boots on the ground.

But it does mean that the White House has an uphill battle to get to 217, considering they only have 30 firm “yea” votes, with 33 leaning “yea.  Moreover, the majority of those in the “nay” universe are Republican, a group of people the White House has notoriously little sway over.

The whip count chart is now located on our Firedoglake Whip Count Page.  I’ll be posting updates here throughout the day as I get them, so as always please leave any intelligence and documentation you glean in the comments

 UPDATE 1:48 pm ET:  Elijah Cummings leaning “no” on MSNBC.  Says his district voted 80% for Obama but calls coming in are 95% against.  He wants Obama to explain his case to the public, and he is worried Syria will retaliate if we strike.

I’m also hearing Obama will address the nation about Syria next week.

Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Lean no - from Facebook:  “If I cannot answer the questions I posed above to my satisfaction, if I am not convinced that we will clearly do more good than harm, I will vote against this war and work to ensure that this country pursues an international response to the atrocities that have been committed in Syria.”

Update 2:04 PM ET – Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) withdraws his previous support for military action in Syria and is now a firm nay:

“Now that the [President Bashar] Assad regime has seen our playbook and has been given enough time to prepare and safeguard potential targets, I do not feel that we have enough to gain as a nation by moving forward with this attack on our own,” the Republican and former Marine combat veteran said in a press release. “Thus, after much thought, deliberation and prayer, I am no longer convinced that a U.S. strike on Syria will yield a benefit to the United States that will not be greatly outweighed by the extreme cost of war.”

Grim previously been urging support for military action on CNN.

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) a firm nay:  “[At] this time I cannot vote to put American men and women in harm’s way in any capacity as it pertains to Syria.

Update 2:29 PM:  Stephen Fincher (R-TX) is a firm no:  “U.S. Congressman Stephen Fincher will oppose taking military actions against Syria when the House of Representatives votes on the question next week.”

Frank Lucas (R-OK) is a lean nay:  “I have a real difficult time imagining how I could vote for a resolution that authorized the president to basically make war on anybody in Syria,” he said to an ovation from the crowd.  But if you think we need to be involved in Syria, you’re going to have to lecture me pretty hard.”

Update 3:01 PM:  Charlie Dent (R-PA) lean nay:  “Dent, R-15th District, who has not yet been briefed by the White House, said he would hear out the administration’s arguments, but that he’s “completely unpersuaded at this point.” He indicated he’s a likely “no” vote.”

Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) lean nay: “All five House members who described themselves as leaning against an attack were Republicans: Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Scott Rigell, Frank Wolf, H. Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman.”

Update 3:20 PM:  Robert Hurt (R-VA) lean nay:  “Hurt said it was 1the responsibility of the President and proponents of a war to make a clear and compelling case that it would be in the national security interest of the United States. And I have not seen that.”

Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) firm nay: “Representative Cythinia Lummis says while what happened there is troubling to her, and it’s a debate that needs to be had….she does not support the president’s call for action.”

Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) lean nay: When asked on by Fox News 8 whether he supports bombing Syria, he responded “not at this time.”

Christi Noem (R-SD) lean nay:  “Right now, I don’t believe that this is the direction to go, and I don’t support the president’s plan. But I am willing to reserve judgment until we can have the discussion and see what this authorization resolution looks like,” Noem said.

David E. Price (D-NC) lean yea: “I applaud the President for seeking approval from Congress even though he is not legally required to do so, and I will insist any resolution hold the Administration to its promise that retaliation will not be a prelude to American boots on the ground.”

Reed Ribble (R-WI) lean no: “Ribble said based on news reports he has seen he is leaning against use of force.”

Update 3:56pm:  Peter Roskam (R-IL) lean no:  “House Chief Deputy Whip @peterroskam says that absent new information authorizing military action in Syria doesn’t seem like a good idea.”

James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) lean no:  “Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has voiced his disapproval of a military intervention in Syria.”

Bill Shuster (R-PA) lean no: “Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, said Tuesday that he’s weighing his vote on a proposed U.S. strike in Syria – but leaning toward “no” – as Congress prepares for a possible decision next week.”

Hill Staffers

Not many congressional GOP interested in classified briefing on Syria

Update 4:30 PM:  Republicans just aren’t showing up to the classified briefings being held on the Hill (photo)

Chris Smith (R-PA) firm nay: “Several said they were leaning against authorizing the use of force, and one – Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) – said he would vote against it.”

Ed Whitfield (R-KY) firm nay: “I will not support President Obama’s request to authorize missile strikes in Syria.”

Update 4:43 PM:  Per CNN, OFA will not organize in favor of military action in Syria.

Peter DeFazio (D-OR) moves to firm nay, per radio interviewand constituent call.

Update 5:05 PM:  Congressional Black Caucus emails its members, asking them to stay quiet on the issue:

The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has asked members of the group to stay largely silent on Syria until lawmakers receive more information about President Obama’s plan for missile strikes against the war-torn nation.

CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) sent an email Tuesday to CBC members asking them “to limit public comment on the issue,” Fudge spokeswoman Ayofemi Kirby said Thursday.

“The chair believes Congress and the American public need more information, and she awaits more briefings between now and early next week before commenting further,” Kirby said.

Update 5:12 PM EST: Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) lean nay: “[T]he president’s case and the facts presented failed to make a compelling case for why it is in the national interest of the United States to engage our military in Syria….[W]e cannot commit our military forces when there seems to be no clear objective or path to ending our involvement.”

Austin Scott (R-GA), firm nay: “Scott told constituents he doesn’t plan to support the resolution authorizing U.S. military strikes in Syria.”

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) lean nay: “U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold said he is leaning against U.S. military intervention in Syria’s civil war, but he wants to hear more from the administration before making up his mind.”

Update 5:29 PM EST: “Top administration officials — including President Obama himself—have now reached out to 185 lawmakers as part of the White House effort to win congressional support for a military strike against Syria, according to a White House official.” (USA Today)

John Kerry will be on the Chris Hayes show tonight to make his pitch for intervention in Syria.  Alan Grayson will be the response.

 Update 6:08 PM: Rep. Erik Paulsen is a firm nay:  “Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen said on Thursday that he would vote ‘no’ on President Obama’s current request for approval of the use of force in Syria but would continue to study various proposals as they come forward.”

Steve Palazzo (R-MS) lean nay:  “‘When I have Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans come up to me, and they’ve been over there a lot longer than I have, been there more times than I have, saying this is one we need to sit out. We should really be concerned,’ he said.”

Cory Gardner (R-CO)  lean nay: “Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma announced on his Facebook page Wednesday that political leaders have failed to convince him that attacking Syria would be prudent.”

Scott Tipton (R-CO) firm nay:  “My vote right now, barring new knowledge, is ‘no,’” Tipton said.

Update 6:39 PM: Daniel Webster (R-FL) firm nay:  “While I will seriously consider the information delivered in upcoming classified briefings, at this point I am strongly opposed to military intervention in Syria,”

 Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) lean nay: “My constituents are skeptical and reluctant to be drawn into this conflict – something that my vote will reflect.”

Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) lean nay: “On Tuesday, Fleischmann said that he had not yet decided if he could support military action in Syria, but added that he would base his decision off of input received from constituents.  “So far, the overwhelming opinion of my constituents—and this is subject to change—is to not get involved in a military way in Syria,” the congressman said in an interview with Nooga.com.”

Tom Latham (R-IA) lean nay: “U.S. Rep. Tom Latham said Tuesday that he opposes American military intervention in Syria.”

Jerry Moran (R-KS) firm nay: “Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Ks., says he will not support U.S. military intervention in Syria.

Update 7:36 PM:  Robert Pittenger (R-NC) lean nay:  “The Charlotte Republican said he’s leaning toward voting against a White House-backed resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria.”

Susan Bonamici (D-OR) lean nay: “The use of chemical weapons against innocent civilian populations is deplorable, violates international norms, and must not be tolerated, but military action is not always the most appropriate response.”