Boehner and Cantor will support Syria strike

After a meeting at the White House Tuesday, House Speaker John Boenher (R-Ohio) said he would support President Obama's "call for action" on Syria. (The Washington Post)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday that they will vote to support the use of force in Syria, giving President Obama key allies in the Nos. 1 and 2 GOP leadership positions in the House.

Boehner also said he would encourage his colleagues to join him.

"I'm going to support the president's call for action, and I believe my colleagues should," he said.

Cantor released a statement saying he, too, is on board.

"I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria," Cantor said. "While the authorizing language will likely change, the underlying reality will not. America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States."

Boehner and Cantor wield significant power in the House by virtue of their positions, but many or most House Republicans have shown a willingness to buck their leadership on key votes, so it's not clear how many will follow their lead.

The top Democrat in the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), has also said she supports military intervention.

"From a national security standpoint, we have to send a very clear message to those who have weapons of mass destruction of any variety that they should forget about using them," Pelosi said Tuesday.

For the latest vote breakdown in each chamber, see The Fix's Syria whip list.

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David Nakamura · September 3, 2013