Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is bracing for double-digit defections in the Democratic caucus on the resolution authorizing military strikes on Syria, which will get a vote this coming week.
The Syria resolution presents Reid with one of the biggest tests of his leadership this Congress and the outcome has significant effects for President Obama’s domestic and foreign policy agendas.
Failure of the measure in the Democratic-controlled upper chamber could spur House Republicans to pick a fight with the weakened president over the budget, as well as embolden the regimes of Iran and North Korea.
“The president’s team has really given him a tough one this time but, as always, when the president asks him to do something, Sen. Reid quickly tries to get it done,” said Jim Manley, a former senior advisor to Reid.
With already four Democratic senators saying they will likely oppose the measure, the pressure is building on Reid to reach out across the aisle.
“If this vote were to fail, it will have huge consequences not only for the president’s domestic policy but also his foreign policy and for the people of Syria. This is about as high stakes as you can get,” Manley added. “How’s Iran and North Korea going to react to a defeat? How are House Republicans going to deal with the debt limit?”