Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel, Brit Hume, Amy Walter, Karl Rove and Dennis Kucinich, as they discuss Syrian President Assad, in our web exclusive Panel Plus
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading the charge to strip funding for the Affordable Care Act from any funding bill passed by Congress in the coming week. Just as determined to reinsert it though is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Reid may have the upper hand by virtue of the Senate rules. Cruz said the first step in his plan is to ask Reid to allow amendments to be subject to a 60 vote threshold. But because the Democratic leader wants to use an amendment to add funding for "Obamacare" to the House-passed bill he will likely say no "because he wants to use brute political force," said Cruz. The junior senator from Texas has a backup plan too, one that sounds like an even steeper climb and highly unlikely at this point: convince Senate Republicans to deny colture on the House-passed bill. He admits he does not know how many fellow senators' votes he can count on but warned how he would view a "yes" vote to cloture by charging that "any vote for cloture , is a vote for Obamacare." Following Senator Cruz on "Fox News Sunday," a perspective at complete odds- Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill (MO), a staunch defender of the president's, charged that Republicans that would threaten a government shutdown over defunding the heath care act are sore losers. "I don’t think in America when we lose elections we throw tantrums and threaten to shut down the government," McCaskill said. Asked how she believes this will turn out when a week from now, when the government is slated to run out of money to run many of its operations, McCaskill said, "I cannot believe they are going to throw a tantrum and throw the American people under the bus." Taking a shot a her colleague from the other side of the aisle, McCaskill added, "This is about running for president with Ted Cruz, this isn’t meaningful statesmanship."
Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel: Brit Hume, Jane Harman, Bill Kristol and Charles Lane as they discuss the winners and losers in the Syria deal in our web exclusive Panel Plus.
Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace sat down with President Barack Obama to discuss the crisis in Syria, and get his reaction to a new proposal by the Russians that could chalk a win for diplomacy.
The proposal, raised by the Russians and "welcomed" by the Syrian government, would place the regime's chemical weapons under international control.
"I think we should explore and exhaust all avenues of diplomatic resolution of this," the president said, adding though that he intends to keep the pressure on.
"The question is, can we construct something that allows the international community to have confidence that these terrible weapons will not be used again," the president said.
Asked whether he would delay a vote in Congress, which is currently considering authorizing the use of force, the president said this proposal does not change the calendar, a process he expects will take a couple weeks anyway.
The president cautioned however that he would not allow a timeframe that goes on for months for this deal to be agreed upon and implemented.
"I think that we should be able to get a fairly rapid sense of how serious they are," President Obama said.
The White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, said it's "too early to come to any conclusion," about whether the administration will get enough votes in Congress to go ahead with the use of force against the Assad regime in Syria. McDonough, who has been in the lead on the effort to convince Congress, said it isn't a question about intelligence, but rather what the U.S. will do to answer such a heinous attack. The "question for Congress is 'are there consequences for a dictator who would use those weapons to gas hundreds of children to death," McDonough said. Although the "no" votes seem to have quickly become insurmountable, in the House especially, McDonough suggested the coming week, when the members return to Washington, is when decisions will truly begin to be made. Members of Congress, who have been home for the Summer recess, have been inundated with feedback from constituents who are war weary and are pressuring their members to vote against the resolution. McDonough said that is an "absolutely understandable sentiment," but reiterated that the president's plan calls for a limited, targeted effort. In his Friday press conference, the president seemed reluctant to answer whether he would go ahead with military action if Congress voted against such action. McDonough, pressed for a straightforward answer said, "If Congress wants consequences, they're going to have to vote for it." Perhaps the staunchest opponent of the president's plan is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Paul sits on the Foreign Relations Committee and voted against authorizing use of force this week. On "Fox News Sunday," he expressed concern about siding with the opposition as well as the strategy laid out so far by the White House. The "most difficult thing is if we go in on side of the rebels, we will be going in on the side of al Qaeda," Paul said, referring to numerous reports of extremist elements infiltrating the rebels' ranks. Of the battle plan as it has been proposed Paul said that while "whoever ordered that (chemical attack) deserves death,"the attack plan would not hold Bashir al-Assad accountable. "The attack plan is not to target Assad," or aimed at regime change, Paul said. Furthermore, Paul added that he thinks there is a chance Assad will be "more emboldened if we do attack him."
Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel, Brit Hume, Howard Kurtz, Karl Rove and Juan Williams as they discuss the Syria debate and its impact on the fall agenda, in our web exclusive Panel Plus.
Events in Syria, and US policy towards them, dominated "Fox News Sunday."
A cabinet secretary, three influential members of Congress, a four-star general and a former senator joined the program to weigh in.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who laid out a powerful idictment against the Assad regime Friday, defended the administration's decision to put on hold military action against Syria until Congress weighs in.
Kerry argued that the case for action will only grow stronger as more evidence comes to light.
The case for action “is powerful today and will be as powerful each day” that goes on, Kerry said.
In a new development, Kerry revealed that samples from the suburbs surrounding Damscus have tested positive for signatures of sarin.
If Assad is tempted to take this pause as an opporunity to launch further chemical attacks against the Syrian people, Kerry had a warning for the regime:
"If the Assad regime were to be foolish enough to attack yet again and to do something in the meantime, of course the president of the United States knows he has the power to do this, and I assume the president would move very, very rapidly."
The House of Representatives is not scheduled to return until September 9 and the delay in decision has caused the Syrian regime and its allies to claim victory over the U.S.
Asked whether delay has handed Iran and Syria at least a temporary victory, Kerry said “that is in the hands of the Congress of the United States.”
Representative Pete King (R-NY) was harsh and immediate in his criticism of the president's announcement Saturday.
On Sunday, King argued that the president has "absolute constitutional and statutory power" to take action, doubling down on his statement the day before that the president is "abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief."
King argued that the president should call Congress back into session immediately to take up the issue of authorizing force.
Asked whether the House majority could get such a measure passed, though, King said "it would probably be a no vote" today, adding that there is a growing isolationist movement in the party that he thinks is "very dangerous."
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who has been opposed to military intervention in Syria from the beginning, voiced his doubts about passage in the Senate as well.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) defended the administration's decision.
"The president made the right decision," Reed said.
He argued that this pause will give time for the administration to also build international support.
Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel, Gen Jack Keane, Joe Lieberman, Jennifer Rubin and Chuck Lane, as they discuss Syria, in our web exclusive Panel Plus.