McCarthy: "I have not made up my mind yet" on Syrian military strike

In a split with House Republican leadership, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) told 17 News Tuesday he had not yet made up his mind on a military strike against Syria.
In a split with House Republican leadership, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) told 17 News Tuesday morning he had not yet made up his mind on a military strike against Syria.

McCarthy spoke from Washington, where House and Senate leaders met with President Obama at the White House. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday endorsed President Barack Obama's call for military action in Syria.

"I'm not there yet," McCarthy said. "I thought today's meeting was very productive. But I still have some concerns and questions that I need answered."

"If we go in, what is the mission, what is the goal and will we achieve it?" McCarthy added.

Following the meeting with the president and other key congressional leaders, Speaker John Boehner said, "I'm going to support the president's call for action."

The top-elected Republican in Washington, Boehner said he intended to support Obama's plan for limited strikes against the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

"I am going to support the president's call for action," he told reporters. "I believe my colleagues should support this call for action."

As some Republicans signal their reluctance to approve Obama's request for authority to intervene in Syria, Boehner's endorsement could be influential. The GOP speaker is often hesitant to get out in front of his unruly Republican conference on major issues, giving Boehner's pronouncement on Tuesday all the more weight.

Following the meeting, Boehner's deputy, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., backed the use of force, as well.

"The use of these weapons has to be responded to," Boehner said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., emerged following the meeting to express her own support for the strikes, on a humanitarian basis. But she said that Obama should lay out more of the evidence against Assad to help build his case for action.

"I believe the American people need to hear more about the intelligence that supports this action," she said.

If Boehner and Cantor can deliver a large number of Republican votes, they could combine with Democrats in the House to help advance the resolution supporting the use of force in Syria through the politically-tricky House of Representatives.

McCarthy downplayed a push for House votes, saying the issue of Syria was non-political.

"People's lives are at stake," McCarthy said. "I don't want to play politics on this at all. When deal we military issues, on this we are Americans first."

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