ABC News: House Majority Opposes Syria War

Leadership Backs War, But Doesn't Have the Votes

After yesterday’s 10-7 committee vote set the stage for a tight vote in the Senate about the Syrian War, the issue may end up entirely academic, as ABC News is the first to call it, and based on the public comments the war is headed for a defeat in the House of Representatives.

It’s incredible for the House to already be there, as a large number of Congressmen have been hedging their bets, with 150+ coming out as “undecided” and saying they intended to wait until the debate.

With both the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House on board for war, the defeat of the resolution would be a decisive rebuke, driven in no small part by public opinion polls that have repeatedly shown massive majorities of the American public against the conflict.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – CA), on the pro-war side, has conceded that she doesn’t know if she can bring in a majority of Democrats on her side. That’s probably putting it mildly, with huge “no” and huge “undecided” contingents making even a close split probably unlikely. The momentum in the House is clearly against this war: with the public opposed and an election next year, it’s hard to envision any major shift.

An historic defeat for the administration’s war plan, it sets the stage for Secretary of State John Kerry’s repeated claims that President Obama could attack after losing the vote to be put to the test. Officials have so far refused to discuss that prospect too deeply, insisting they are “confident” in winning the vote, but now that it seems clear they’ll lose, that confidence seems as ill-placed as their confidence in the rest of the case for war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.