Lunch between Barack Obama and Democrats on the Hill just broke up. Apparently Obama is asking for an Authorization for Use of Military Force on Syria in order to maintain a credible threat.
It is likely that Obama will use his speech to the nation tonight to make his case for this backdoor AUMF.
Meanwhile, a new Gang of 8 has come together to draft a new bill. The group is comprised of Republican hawks John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Saxby Chambliss, along with Democratic hawks Carl Levin, Charles E. Schumer, and Chris Coons. Robert Menendez is also reported to be “consulting” with the group.
The New York Times reports that a new bill is being drafted in consultation with the White House, which calls for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Assad for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, deadlines for establishing UN control of the arsenal, and an authorization for the use of military force if they did not.
The Russians have apparently rejected a French draft that authorized the use of military force, saying it was unacceptable, so apparently it’s a bill that is being set up to fail — and give Obama the authorization he wants by default.
Rep. Alan Grayson is opposed to such a bill.
We’ll be adding updates throughout the day on Syria as we regularly do on our daily whip count page.