Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks at a news conference Sept. 9 in Washington. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
The Senate has delayed a scheduled Wednesday vote on a resolution authorizing a military strike against Syria.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., whose leadership role lets him set when votes occur, said he wanted to give President Obama more time to make his case to Congress and the American people for the use of force. A delay would also give more time for a possible international compromise to be reached where Syria would voluntarily give up its chemical weapons stockpiles.
President Obama is scheduled to hold separate meetings on Tuesday with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. He also has a nationally televised address planned for Tuesday night about Syria.
Pending before the upper chamber is Senate Joint Resolution 21, a measure passed last week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that authorizes the use of force against Syria with restrictions on timing and a prohibition against deploying U.S. troops on the ground. Passed by a 10-7 vote in committee, the resolution grants authority for a strike for just 60 days, with one 30-day extension possible.
Reid called up the resolution when the Senate came into session on Monday, and had announced earlier in the day he would file a procedural motion that would require a vote sometime on Wednesday.
Late Monday, Reid said the situation has changed, and that more time was needed, which might appear to be a sign the administration did not have enough votes, although Reid said he did.
“I do not think we need to see how fast we can do this,” Reid said in announcing the delay. “We have to see how well we can do this matter.”
“I think what we need to do is make sure that the president has the opportunity to speak to all 100 senators and all 300 million American people before we do this,” Reid said.