WASHINGTON — The White House faces the strong possibility of a defeat over Syria that could seriously damage the president for the rest of his tenure, a peril the administration will battle this week as members of Congress return to work and open a decisive chapter of the Obama presidency.
Administration efforts to seek support from lawmakers, including personal phone calls by the president, so far appear to have changed few minds.
Nor has the support of top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders in both houses, who have lined up behind President Obama’s plan to punish the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for what U.S. officials say was a poison gas attack last month near Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people.
Administration officials say they remain optimistic about winning a vote in the Senate, expected later this week. Vice President Joe Biden hosted Obama and six GOP senators for dinner at the vice presidential residence Sunday night.
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