John Boehner Tells House Republicans That They Can Blow Off Briefing on Syria

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While Senate Democrats are already at work on Syria, drafting new language for an authorization, Boehner and Cantor, the top two House Republicans, didn’t show up to the classified Syria briefing top administration officials gave for House members on Sunday.

Boehner told House Republicans not to worry if they couldn’t make it because there will be many more.

In April, Cantor urged all members to attend a classified briefing on Syria, but now that it’s imminent that the House actually needs to vote on it, Boehner told everyone not to worry about it because there will be others:

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Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office said Saturday that administration officials will offer a classified briefing to House members on Sunday afternoon.

The Speaker’s office added that “many classified briefings” will be offered for members who are not in Washington and will be unable to attend Sunday’s briefing.

Way to compel attendance.

There might be many classified briefings offered, but House Republicans are only going to be in session for nine legislative days this month. It would be wise of them to not waste any part of one of those days by attending a classified briefing that they could have gone to on their own time, which the taxpayers are still paying them for.

In fact, Cantor made the case for authorizing engagement in April and demonstrated what it sounds like when a leader compels attendance, “The Syrian conflict has raged for many months, and nearly a hundred thousand Syrian civilians have been killed. The conflict now threatens to spill over Syria’s borders, destabilizing key American allies.

“This dangerous conflict threatens American national security interests in the region, and I wanted to take this opportunity… to urge members to attend the classified briefing that the administration will be providing tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. in the CVC auditorium.”

Skipping briefings both after and while complaining that they are not being included and don’t have information is becoming a habit for Republicans, who also skipped the Benghazi briefing. Who can forget John McCain whining on TV, demanding more information about Benghazi as he was skipping the briefing on Benghazi.

Hey, Sunday’s briefing was only the briefing to hear the case for why the administration feels we need to respond after the White House released an intelligence report showing that 1,429 Syrians had been killed in alleged chemical attacks. A vote is imminent.

Perhaps Republicans don’t feel they need information before they vote.

Some Republicans did show. Politico reported, “Among the high-ranking House lawmakers who were seen attending the briefing were House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the third-ranking House Republican; House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.).”

Where were number one and two, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)? Leading by example and skipping the briefing, apparently.

Eric Cantor, who sets the schedule for the House, has also not called the House back early from their vacation in order to deal with Syria.

This leaves House Republicans 9 days to deal with the debt ceiling crisis they created, the continuing resolution funding crisis they created, and Syria. Nine days for the most dysfunctional House ever in recorded history to handle all three of those issues.

While it doesn’t appear that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it to the House briefing, the Senate is already working on their version of authorization. Aides to Reid and Senator Robert Menendez are are overseeing the Senate version of Syria authorization, which will limit the scope of the White House’s version.

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