President Obama said today he will seek approval from Congress before taking any military action against Syria. Obama said he believes military action is necessary.

President Obama speaks in the White House Rose Garden (White House)

Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, the President said he had met with congressional leaders to present evidence of a chemical attack by the Syrian government against its people.

He says congressional leadership plans to hold a debate on whether the U.S. will conduct a military strike as soon as the Congressional session resumes in September.

Obama says he has the authority to act on his own, but believes it is important for the country to have a debate. "Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are united as one nation," he said.

The proposed military action would be in response to a chemical weapons attack the U.S. says Syrian President Bashar Assad's government carried out against civilians. The U.S. says more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in that attack last week.

Obama promised that any military action would not be open ended and would not involve U.S ground troops.

President Barack Obama (L) joined by Vice President Joe Biden delivers a statement on Syria in the Rose Garden of the White House (Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)

Republicans expressed satisfaction at Obama's decision, and challenged him to make his case to the public and lawmakers alike that American power should be used to punish Assad.

"We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised," House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and other House Republican leaders said in a joint statement.

"In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th. This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people."

The meetings are already being coordinated. Lawmakers are being briefed on classified and unclassified information this weekend.

Meanwhile, Obama challenged lawmakers to consider the message the U.S. will send Assad if he is allowed to continue chemical weapons attacks.

While lawmakers are scheduled to return to work Sept. 9, officials said it was possible the Senate might come back to session before then.