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Readout of Briefing for Congressional Leaders on the Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

WASHINGTON – Following on the President’s calls with House and Senate leaders over the last day, and building on extensive Cabinet Member outreach to Congress over the past week, this evening (August 29th, 2013) Senior Administration Officials held an unclassified phone call with congressional leaders and the Chairs and Ranking Members of national security committees to brief them on the Administration’s thinking and seek their input on the U.S. response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons near Damascus on August 21. The views of Congress are important to the President’s decision-making process, and we will continue to engage with Members as the President reaches a decision on the appropriate U.S. response to the Syrian government’s violation of international norms against the use of chemical weapons. Senior Administration Officials participating in tonight’s call included National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sandy Winnefeld. The call lasted 90 minutes and 15 Members asked questions of the assembled Administration Officials.

Members of Congress participating in the briefing included:

Speaker John Boehner, R-OH
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA
Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, Republican Whip
Representative Eric Cantor, R-VA, Majority Leader
Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, Majority Whip
Representative Steny Hoyer, D-MD, Democratic Whip
Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, Democratic Conference Committee Vice Chair
Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, Chair, Appropriations Committee
Senator Carl Levin, D-MI, Chairman, Armed Services Committee
Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ, Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee
Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, Chair, Select Committee on Intelligence
Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee
Senator Bob Corker, R-TN, Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Committee
Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, Ranking Member, Select Committee on Intelligence
Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT, Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Senator Thad Cochran, R-MS, Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
Representative Bill Young, R-FL, Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
Representative Ed Royce, R-CA, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee
Representative Mike Rogers, R-MI, Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Representative Nita Lowey, D-NY, Ranking Member Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Representative Buck McKeon, R-CA, Chairman, Armed Services Committee
Representative Eliot Engel, D-NY, Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee
Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, Ranking Member, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Representative Kay Granger, R-TX, Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

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