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House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on authorizing use of force in Syria
A significant number of empty seats at Wednesday's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on authorizing the use of force in Syria
Both The Washington Post and Think Progress have been keeping separate whip counts of where members of the House and Senate stand on authorizing the use of military force in Syria, and while there are significant differences between the two tallies, they do offer some insight into where things currently stand.

First, here's The Post's tally (as of 9:30 AM ET):

House of Representatives (assumes 2 vacancies):
For or leaning for: 17 (9D, 8R)
Against or leaning against: 134 (40D, 92R)
Unknown or undecided: 282 (148D, 134R)

For or leaning for: 18 (11D, 7R)
Against or leaning against: 20 (5 D/I, 15 R)
Unknown or undecided: 62 (38 D/I, 24R)

And here's Think Progress's tally (also as of 9:30 AM ET):
House of Representatives (assumes 2 vacancies):
For or leaning for: 47 (35D, 12R)
Against or leaning against: 153 (44D, 109R)
Unknown or undecided: 233 (121D, 112R)
As you can see, the two tallies have significant differences, particularly on the level of support in the House and the fact that only The Post's figures cover the Senate. Nonetheless, some broad similarities exist:
  • According to both whip counts, a majority of both chambers hasn't taken a public position.
  • House Republicans are much more likely to say they are against the use of force than Democrats in the House or Senate
  • Final passage in the House will require significant support from Democrats—almost certainly a majority of House Democrats

Another dynamic that could come up, based on these numbers: It's possible—perhaps even likely—that a majority of House Republicans will oppose a Syria resolution. That would mean the only way to bring a resolution up for a vote would be for House Speaker John Boehner to violate the "Hastert Rule"—the unwritten rule that says Republican Speakers shall not bring legislation to a vote unless it has the support of a majority of Republicans.

As it turns out, Boehnerland is already saying it will violate the Hastert Rule. This probably won't end up being a big deal as it relates to the Syria vote, but it should make it harder for Boehner to explain why he would apply the Hastert Rule to immigration, but not Syria.

It's worth keeping in mind that these numbers are preliminary—neither the House nor Senate have yet even decided what the final language will be of whatever resolution they vote on next week. But it does provide a clear indication that to make good on its public displays of confidence, administration has a lot of convincing to do.


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