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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he will support President Barack Obama’s call for U.S. military intervention in Syria, following a Tuesday morning meeting with the president and other congressional leaders at the White House.

“The use of these weapons has to be responded to, and only the United States has the capability and capacity to stop Assad, and to warn others around the world that this type of behavior is not going to be tolerated,” Speaker Boehner told reporters.

“This is something that the United States as a country needs to do,” Boehner said. “I am going to support the president’s call for action. I believe that my colleagues should support this call for action.”

“We have enemies around the world that need to understand that we’re not going to tolerate this type of behavior,” Boehner added. “We also have allies arounnd the world and allies in the region who also need to know that America will be there and stand up when it’s necessary.”

Boehner’s top deputy in the House of Representatives, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), has also signaled his intention to support an authorization bill.

“I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria,” Cantor said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “While the authorizing language will likely change, the underlying reality will not. America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States.”

Boehner and Cantor’s support could prove critical to President Obama’s efforts to pass a bill authorizing the use of force in Syria through the House of Representatives. Congressional Republicans appear deeply divided over whether to support the president’s call to action; the vocal endorsement of the party’s highest-ranking leaders could provide political cover to those who wish to support military action without appearing to be too close to President Obama. That said, Boehner’s caucus has been known to ignore his directives in the past.

AFP Photo/Jim Watson

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