09/04/2013 01:38 EDT | Updated 11/03/2013 05:12 EST

Obama's plan for Syria intervention faces tougher test as House holds 1st hearing

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration faces a tougher examination Wednesday of its plans for military intervention in Syria, squaring off against skeptical House members a day after gaining endorsement of the top Republican in the House and finding significant support in the Senate.

With President Barack Obama in Europe, his top national security aides will participate in a series of public and private hearings at the Capitol to advance their case for limited strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. The administration blames Assad for a deadly sarin gas attack outside Damascus last month.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee could vote on authorizing the use of force as early as Wednesday. The legislation allows Obama to order a limited mission against Syria for a maximum of 90 days while prohibiting American combat troops on the ground.