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Blunt: Obama May Wait on Military Strike Vote, Consider Russian Initiative

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
Photo Courtesy of Senator Blunt

As President Barack Obama prepares to address the nation Tuesday evening on Syria, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt feels the Commander in Chief is in no hurry for congressional approval of a military strike, now that Russia has proposed a diplomatic solution. KSMU's Scott Harvey reports.

During a conference call with reporters, the Republican senator from Missouri reiterated his disapproval of the President’s resolution, which he first stated publically Monday.  Blunt, along with fellow Senate Republicans, met with the President for about an hour Tuesday, which the Senator called “a good exchange.” But Blunt says he’s not convinced that the President’s request that Congress endorse a ‘shot across the bow’ against Syria lines up with the country’s policy goals.

“I considered this carefully and had a number of briefings on this topic. I believe this strategy and the unknown response it may provoke are the wrong thing to do. And I will not support the resolution the President has asked for.”

Asked if he’d approve a new proposal that included the Russian initiative that proposes Syria hand over their chemical weapons, Blunt said “I’m comfortable with where I’m at,” adding that he’s skeptical of this new plan.

“The more qualifiers the Russians begin to add the less that will appear to be a real proposal as opposed to something that’s not a realistic alternative, but I certainly wouldn’t… would not discourage the President from continuing to see if there’s some way to get those chemical weapons out of the hands of this regime,” Blunt said.

Blunt added that the impression he got from Tuesday’s meeting was that the President will not seek a vote on a military strike over the next few days “as some hope that this Russian proposal might work out.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons stockpile under international control will not succeed unless the United States and its allies reject the use of force against Syria. 

President Obama is expected to address the nation at 8 p.m. Central Time Tuesday. You can hear that speech on KSMU.