"The use of chemical weapons is a barbarous act," House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after congressional leaders met with President Obama an. "It's pretty clear to me that the United Nations is unable to take action, NATO not likely to take action."
The U.N. Security Council includes as permanent members China and Russia, staunch allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad who have blocked anti-Syrian measure coming before the council.
"The use of these weapons [has] to be responded to, and only the United States has the capability and the capacity to stop Assad and to warn others around the world that this type of behavior is not going to be tolerated," Boehner said after the meeting.
Intelligence that Assad used chemical weapons on Syrians "cannot be ignored" and demands a response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.
"The intelligence is clear that Assad perpetrated this attack of using weapons of mass destruction, " Pelosi, D-Calif., said after meeting with President Obama Tuesday. "It is really something that, from a humanitarian standpoint, cannot be ignored or else we cannot say 'never again.'"
From a national security standpoint, Pelosi said, the United States must send a clear message to countries with weapons of mass destruction "that they should forget about using them."
She called the meeting with Obama "very constructive" and that Obama listened to congressional leaders.
Pelosi said she "associated" herself with Boehner's remarks, adding, however, "I believe that the American people need to hear more about the intelligence that supports this action, and ... that the responsibility for this chemical weapons use is clearly at the feet of Assad."