If there has been a bright spot in President Obama’s ill-fated effort to get Congressional support on Syria, it’s been the solid backing he’s received from Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor even in the face of overwhelming opposition from the Republican rank-and-file. But when the president decided to pull the plug, for now, on the Syria resolution, nobody at the White House bothered to tell the Republican leadership.
The president announced the delay in his nationally televised address Tuesday night, telling the country he had “asked the leaders of Congress” to postpone a vote on the Syria resolution. According to Boehner’s spokesman Brendan Buck, the “leaders of Congress” in the House had never been asked anything or even told about the decision before the speech.
Same thing with Cantor: ”The House never heard from the president,” says Cantor spokesman Doug Heye.
The House had not scheduled a vote yet, but Republican leaders had promised the White House a vote would follow shortly after the Senate voted on the resolution. In fact, Speaker Boehner even committed to bring the resolution up for a vote even though a majority of Republicans oppose it, waving the so-called Hastert Rule against holding a vote on any measure not supported by a majority of Republicans.
Asked which “leaders of Congress” the president had spoken to about delaying the Syria vote, a White House spokesman would only say, “I’m not going to read out specific conversations.”