Not everyone is ready to laud Congress just yet. Obamas neck-breaking swing Tuesday from a use of force vote to last-ditch diplomacy efforts meant lawmakers didnt have to take a final stand on Syria.
For a Congress that wanted in on the decision-making process, the Russian proposal has proven to be a welcomed out from having to vote yea or nay on a military strike plan thats wildly unpopular with Americans.
When I first heard about the deal, I remember thinking, That would be good, that would be good, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who backed Obamas call for airstrikes, said of Russias proposal. I think many people feel that if this could be done it could be a way out for everybody.
Former Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md., said lawmakers in both parties are clinging to the prospects of a diplomatic deal in hopes of making a Syria vote go away.
On all sides, Congress was bewitched, bothered and bewildered, and (lawmakers) are relived that theres a possibility of a diplomatic solution, said Morella, a professor at American Universitys Women & Politics Institute in Washington.
Cummings said the jurys still out on Congress performance on Syria because we havent had a vote. But James Thurber, an American University government professor and longtime Congress-watcher, said House members and senators earned one of two less-than-stellar marks.
Either incomplete or withdrawal, Thurber said. They were really feeling pinched, and this (Russia proposal) was a face-saving way out.
Anita Kumar of the Washington Bureau contributed to this report.