Senior administration officials say President Barack Obama had planned to take military action against Syria without congressional authorization, but told aides Friday night that he had changed his mind.
Obama announced Saturday that he wanted to launch a military strike, but would first seek lawmakers' approval.
The officials describe a president overriding all his top national security advisers, who believe consulting with Congress was sufficient.
The officials say Obama spent the week wrestling with Congress' role and made the decision Friday after a lengthy discussion with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough. They say Obama decided seeking approval would make the U.S. stronger even though he still believes he has the authority to act alone.
The administration officials requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss Obama's decision-making by name.