House lawmakers grill Sec. Kerry over US plan on Syria

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 10, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Senate has already delayed.

REP. JEFF MILLER, R-FLA.: Because the don't have the votes, Mr. Secretary. That's why they delayed. You know that.

KERRY: Actually, no, I don't.

MILLER: Well, I do.

KERRY: Well, I'm glad you know something.


MILLER: Mr. Chairman, would you please ask the witnesses to limit their answers to the questions that are asked?

KERRY: But you don't really want answers, do you?


MILLER: I'm limited on my time, but you're not, sir.

KERRY: I'm trying to give you an answer.

MILLER: This not the Senate. We do not filibuster here.

KERRY: I'm trying to give you an answer.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: OK, well, that went well.

To that congressman trying to ask the questions, Florida Republican Jeff Miller on whether he did get any answers he was looking for.

Congressman, did you?

MILLER: No, not really.

I mean, it was the same thing we heard from the secretary yesterday. He is using the same talking points over and over again. And I'm not convinced, and I can guarantee you my constituents are not convinced back in the Panhandle Florida.

CAVUTO: All right, so if you had to vote right now, Congressman, on whether we strike Syria, you would vote?


CAVUTO: How many of your colleagues feel the same way?

MILLER: Oh, I think a great number of them do.

And that's what I was referring to in regards to the Senate. I don't believe the votes are there in the Senate either. There have been papers that have been whipping these vote counts for several days, and the House is strongly opposed, or leaning that direction, and I believe the Senate may be very close. But I still don't think that they have the votes in order to move it through the Senate.

CAVUTO: You also raised an issue about why it has become an issue to Congress, because no one has defined the mission or how big it will be. This is from earlier today, because it got quite an answer out of the secretary of state.


MILLER: Mr. Secretary, would you please explain what an incredibly small strike is?

KERRY: It's not Iraq. It's not Iran. It's not a year's war.

What I was doing was trying to point out to people that we're engaged in a strike which we have again and again -- and if you want to take my comments in their entirety, I have said this will be meaningful, it will be serious, the Assad regime will feel it, because it will degrade their military capacity. But compared to Iraq, Kosovo, Libya, it's small.


CAVUTO: He didn't answer your question.

MILLER: No, he didn't.

And John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, ought to understand that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was supposed to be very specific as well, and it got drug out into a very long, protracted war that eventually the American public turned against, and so did Washington.

CAVUTO: And we should stress that was orchestrated by then Lyndon Johnson, under false auspices, and got us again dragged into something that we didn't really count on. But that was then. He argues, that is the secretary of state, it is not now. But yet votes are being delayed now. So obviously they must see the writing on the wall. What do you think happens?

MILLER: Well, I think what is interesting is just a week ago the president made very clear that we needed to strike and strike very quickly.

Then again he came on the air and told the Americans that he wanted to go to Congress. He has gotten a tremendous pushback from many members of Congress, and we're relaying to him and to his administration what our constituents are telling us. I have received 1,000 phone calls in my office. I probably have only gotten six that say that they support a strike on Syria.


Congressman, thank you very much.

MILLER: Thank you, Neil.

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