who to watch in Syria debate
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: The White House will be leaning on Reid to help rally support for a use-of-force resolution. He voted to authorize military action in Iraq but later emerged as a leading critic of the war.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: Will he work to deliver GOP votes for an attack or allow his Republican colleagues to vote their consciences? Facing a re-election campaign in 2014, he is struggling to hold together the Senate GOP conference and has met resistance from Tea Party-backed senators unwilling to be seen as supportive of any administration policy.
House Republican leadership: Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy issued a statement calling on Obama to provide Congress with more information. After meeting with the president, Boehner and Cantor said they would vote for a strike, while McCarthy is still undecided. The trio has been hard-pressed to hold together the House GOP conference on key votes this year.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: She is strongly behind military action, putting her at odds with her liberal colleagues. Pelosi is a known vote-getter who can wield her influence on wavering colleagues.
Committee leaders: The White House is paying attention to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate foreign relations, armed services and intelligence panels. They include House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce, R-Calif., and Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: They wield great influence over their GOP colleagues on foreign policy debates, partly because of their outsize presence in the media.
Republicans thinking about 2016: At least four GOP lawmakers are weighing bids for the White House — or could end up on the shortlist of vice-presidential contenders. In the Senate, keep an eye on Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.). In the House, watch Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.).
Democrats thinking about 2016: Depending on what Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden decide to do, there are a handful of Democratic lawmakers waiting in the wings to run for president. Both Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) have hinted at broader ambitions.
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.: One of the most vocal and renegade House Republicans, Amash has been actively voicing his opposition to military action.
Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va.: He persuaded more than 140 colleagues to sign a letter asking Obama to seek formal authorization for military action and has since said he remains opposed to a strike.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.: She persuaded more than 60 colleagues to sign a similar letter to Obama and remains opposed to military action.
Undecided Senate Democrats: Several who caucus with the Democrats say they are skeptical of military action, including Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Angus King, I-Maine. They may be key swing votes.