US Secretary of State John Kerry listens to a speaker before testifying on Syria to the House Armed Services Committee on September 10, 2013 in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

In an opening statement Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary of State John F. Kerry told lawmakers that they had effectively already voted for the use of force in Syria.

“You have already spoken to this. Your word is on the line, too. You passed the Syria Accountability Act," Kerry said. "And that act clearly states that Syria’s chemical weapons threaten the security of the Middle East. That’s in plain writing. It’s in the act. You voted for it. We’ve already decided that these chemical weapons are important to the security of our nation.”

Kerry's reference is to the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. It cited, among other things, congressional findings that the Syrian government “is pursuing the development and production of biological and chemical weapons” and that, according to the CIA, Syria “already holds a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin but apparently is trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents.”

The act further said that it is the “sense of Congress” that Syria should “cease the development and production of biological and chemical weapons.” It adds that as a matter of U.S. policy, “the United States will work to deny Syria the ability to support acts of international terrorism and efforts to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction” and that “Syria’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs threaten the security of the Middle East and the national security interests of the United States.”

The act passed in the House by a vote of 408 to 8, with one member voting present and 17 not voting. It passed in the Senate by a vote of 89 to 4, with seven not voting.

Cross-referencing those roll call votes with The Post’s whip count (as of Friday afternoon) on the use-of-force resolution shows that 113 current members of Congress -- 101 who were House members in 2003 and 12 who were and still are senators -- voted in favor of the Syria Accountability Act but now oppose or are leaning against authorizing military force against Syria.

The use-of-force resolution has been put on hold in Congress while the United States and Russia try to negotiate a deal to transfer and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. But the resolution could be revived if diplomacy fails.

Most who voted "yes" in 2003 but are against military action today are Republicans, although both parties are amply represented. In the House, 67 Republicans (including two who were Democrats at the time but later joined the GOP) and 34 Democrats voted yes on the Syria Accountability Act but don’t support the use-of-force resolution. Of the 12 senators, 10 are Republicans.

Eleven of the House members during the 2003 vote are now senators. Only one current senator who opposes the proposed resolution also voted no in 2003: Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Only one House member -- Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) -- falls into that category.

Two others -- Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is now a senator, and Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.) -- voted no on the Syria Accountability Act but now support authorization for a military strike. Two of the seven then-senators who didn’t vote on the 2003 act are -- wait for it -- Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who was a GOP senator from Nebraska.

How to explain all this? Particularly in the case of the lawmakers who voted for the Syria Accountability Act but now oppose military action? Can they be fairly accused of inconsistency, if not outright hypocrisy? Or voting for bluster but not for backing up their words with action? Where the GOP lawmakers are concerned, could partisan politics have anything to do with it — i.e. the fact that a Republican was in the White House in 2003 and a Democrat is president 10 years later? Are the members of Congress purely responding to feedback from constituents? Is there some other principle here that escapes us?

In an interview on MSNBC, Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, took Republicans to task for what he described as flip-flopping on Syria (notwithstanding the fact that many of his fellow Democrats are in the same boat).

“Evidently Paul Ryan and many other Republicans were for this before they were against it,” Israel said. “In fact, over 400 members of Congress on a bipartisan basis in 2003 voted for the Syria Accountability Act that stated emphatically that it is the policy of the United States that chemical warfare in Syria, weapons of mass destruction, is a threat to our national security. It was called the Syria Accountability Act when they wrote press releases patting themselves on the back for passing it. Now they don’t want to hold the Syrians accountable under the Syria Accountability Act.”

Israel voted for the Syria Accountability Act and is firmly in favor of authorizing military intervention.

Here is the list of lawmakers who voted for the Syria Accountability Act but now oppose or are leaning against a use-of-force resolution:

House Republicans:

Robert Aderholt (Ala.)
Rodney Alexander (La. - then a Democrat, now a Republican)
Spencer Bachus (Ala.)
Joe Barton (Texas)
Rob Bishop (Utah)
Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)
Roy Blunt (Mo. – now a senator)
John Boozman (Ark. - now a senator)
Kevin Brady (Texas)
Michael Burgess (Texas)
Dave Camp (Mich.)
Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)
John Carter (Texas)
Howard Coble (N.C.)
Tom Cole (Okla.)
Ander Crenshaw (Fla.)
John A. Culberon (Texas)
Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.)
John J. Duncan (Tenn.)
J. Randy Forbes (Va.)
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (N.J.)
Jim Gerlach (Pa.)
Phil Gingrey (Ga.
Robert W. Goodlatte (Va.)
Kay Granger (Tex)
Sam Graves (Mo.)
Ralph M. Hall (Texas – then a Democrat, now a Republican)
Jeb Hensarling (Texas)
Johnny Isakson (Ga. – now a senator)
Darrell Issa (Calif.)
Walter B. Jones Jr. (N.C.)
Steve King (Iowa)
Jack Kingston (Ga.)
John Kline (Minn.)
Tom Latham (Iowa)
Frank LoBiondo (N.J.)
Frank Lucas (Okla.)
Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (Calif.)
Jeff Miller (Fla.)
Candice S. Miller (Mich.)
Jerry Moran (Kan. – now a senator)
Randy Neugebauer (Texas)
Devin Nunes (Calif.)
Steve Pearce (N.M.)
Joseph R. Pitts (Pa.)
Mike Rogers (Ala.)
Harold Rogers (Ky.)
Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.)
Paul Ryan (Wis.)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)
F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wis.)
Pete Sessions (Texas)
John M. Shimkus (Ill.)
William Shuster (Pa.)
Mike Simpson (Idaho)
Christopher H. Smith (N.J.)
Lamar Smith (Texas)
Lee Terry (Neb.)
Pat Tiberi (Ohio)
Fred Upton (Mich.)
David Vitter (La. – now a senator)
Greg Walden (Ore.)
Edward Whitfield (Ky.)
Roger Wicker (Miss. – now a senator)
Joe Wilson (S.C.)
Frank R. Wolf (Va.)
Don Young (Alaska)


House Democrats:

Robert E. Andrews (N.J.)

Tammy Baldwin (Wis. - now a senator)

Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)

Lois Capps (Calif.)

Michael E. Capuano (Mass.)

Jim Cooper (Tenn.)

Elijah E. Cummings (Md.)

Peter DeFazio (Ore.)

Lloyd Doggett (Texas)

Anna Eshoo (Calif.)

Sam Farr (Calif.)

Raul Grijalva (Ariz.)

Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.)

Rush D. Holt (N.J.)

Mike Honda (Calif.)

Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

Barbara T. Lee (Calif.)

Stephen Lynch (Mass.)

Edward J. Markey (Mass. – now a senator)

Jim Matheson (Utah)

Jim McGovern (Mass.)

Mike McIntyre (N.C.)

George Miller (Calif.)

Richard E. Neal (Mass.)

Collin C. Peterson (Minn.)

Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.)

Loretta Sanchez (Calif.)

Bernard Sanders (Vt. – independent, caucuses with Dems, now a senator)

Jose Serrano (N.Y.)

Adam Smith (Wash.)

Mike Thompson (Calif.)

Bennie Thompson (Miss.)

Tom Udall (N.M. - now a senator)

Nydia M. Velazquez (N.Y.)


Senate Republicans:

Lamar Alexander (Tenn.)

Susan Collins (Maine)

John Cornyn (Texas)

Mike Crapo (Idaho)

Charles E. Grassley (Iowa)

Orrin Hatch (Utah)

James M. Inhofe (Okla)

Mitch McConnell (Ky.)

Pat Roberts (Kan.)

Richard C. Shelby (Ala.)


Senate Democrats:

Mark Pryor (Ark.)

Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.)