WASHINGTON -- Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Sunday slammed the "isolationist wing" of the Republican party, calling it "damaging to the party and to our nation."
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," King predicted that if a vote were to be held today in the House to authorize the use of U.S military force in Syria, "it would be no vote." King's comments, and his disdain for those who would vote "no" on military action, offered a window into what is likely to be a bitter debate in Congress over the coming weeks.
A growing chorus of House and Senate Republicans in recent years have shied away from U.S. intervention overseas. Earlier this year, 13 Republicans voted on a bill introduced by former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to cut off U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) all sided with Paul, but the bill ultimately failed to pass.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry plan to continue making a forceful case that the U.S. should strike key Syrian government targets, following President Bashar Al Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons to kill more than 1,400 people outside Damascus on August 21.
Opposition to U.S. intervention is led in Congress by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said Friday on Fox that Obama calling the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons a "red line" was not a good enough reason to go to war.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Paul said that Secretary Kerry's personal experience fighting the Vietnam War should be enough to convince Kerry that military action in Syria was unwarranted. "I wish he remembered more of how awful war is," Paul said.
Both Obama and Kerry have repeatedly stated that any action in Syria would be limited to surgical strikes of key targets, and that there are no plans to put American "boots on the ground" in the country.
Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 9, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he will schedule a debate and a vote on military action in Syria as soon as possible.