On Syria, McConnell Remains Lone Hill Leader on the Fence

Only one of the top five members of the bipartisan congressional hierarchy still sits on the fence about launching a punitive strike against Syria: Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader.

The Kentucky Republican emerged from the White House on Monday as the only member of the bicameral leadership group still uncommitted to voting in favor of legislation authorizing military action.

McConnell looks to be taking as much time as he can. He’s weighing his political considerations back home, where an isolationist stance would provide clear short-term benefit, against the pressures of his leadership role at the Capitol, where he’s spent almost three decades as a Republican voice for a hawkish defense posture and an interventionist foreign policy.

The senator was one of the group of a dozen Hill leaders who spent an hour in the Cabinet Room hearing President Barack Obama and his aides lay out their case for why Congress should endorse plans for missile strikes, the president’s proposed response to last month’s chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. The attacks killed more than 1,000 people and, the administration says, was surely the work of Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime.

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