The White House says President Barack Obama's decision on a possible military strike against Syria will be guided by America's best interests, suggesting the U.S. may act alone if other nations won't help.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Thursday that Obama believes there are core U.S. interests at stake in Syria. She said countries who violate international norms about chemical weapons must be held accountable.
The White House was responding to a failed vote in Britain's Parliament on Thursday to endorse military action against Syria over an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week. That means Britain won't play a direct role in any U.S. attack.
The defeat dealt a major blow to Obama's efforts to build an international coalition for a strike against the Syrian government.
Local representatives weigh in on the Syria conflict
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer:
"A limited action to knock out his capability of delivering chemical weapons in the future could be appropriate, but we have to be very careful not to let our involvement escalate. America needs to focus on domestic issues such as jobs and the middle class."
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:
"This is a heinous and despicable act that cannot be ignored. I expect that the Administration will work with an international coalition to act with a limited, tactical response to make it clear to Bashar al-Assad that this behavior is unacceptable."
U.S. Rep. Chris Collins:
"The images coming out of Syria are deeply troubling. There is also no question that the circumstances on the ground are complex and any military response by the United States will not only impact the ongoing civil war within Syria but possibly have ramifications throughout the region. For those reasons alone, I believe the President has an obligation to consult Congress and communicate with the American people about what our response should be.
"President Obama himself wrote that 'the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation' in a 2007 response to a Boston Globe questionnaire.
"It is my hope that President Obama will remember these words and call for Congress to reconvene for discussion should he deem military action in Syria necessary."
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning:
"This is a very dangerous and complex situation. There are no good options for the United States due largely to the failure to have a consistent policy regarding engagement in the Middle East over the last several years. I am waiting for the White House to give Congress a clear definition of the objectives and parameters of our potential involvement. Our goal must be to deter the use of chemical weapons and any weapons of mass destruction."
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