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Florida lawmakers sound off on Obama's Syria plans

Here's a partial list of Florida congressional reactions to President Obama's announcement that he'd seek congressional approval before striking Syria:

Sen. Bill Nelson: "The president wants to put to rest any doubt the American people may have. I support the president's decision. But as far as I’m concerned, we should strike in Syria today. The use of chemical weapons was inhumane, and those responsible should be forced to suffer the consequences.” 

Sen. Marco Rubio: “I agree with the decision to seek Congressional approval before taking military action in Syria. And I believe Congress should return to Washington immediately and begin to debate this issue. The United States should only engage militarily when it is pursuing a clear and attainable national security goal. Military action taken simply to send a message or save face does not meet that standard.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami:“President Obama stated earlier today that he will be seeking Congressional authorization for a military strike. The many gaps in his short and insufficient statement include what the military objective would be, what effect it would have in the outcome of the Syrian conflict, and what steps are being taken to protect our allies in the region. As I previously stated, while I would like to wholeheartedly support our Commander-in-Chief in the event of military action in Syria, any use of force must be purposeful, overwhelming, and in furtherance of specifically enumerated national security interests.  Unfortunately, the President has failed to provide a coherent policy on Syria to date.  His poorly conceived ‘red line’ unnecessarily leveraged U.S. credibility, and placed him in the regrettable position of either following through on the promised retaliation or confirming that his threat was a hollow one.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: "This is a very serious issue and Members of Congress must have all the appropriate information in order to make an informed decision. That is why I will be flying up from Miami tomorrow and arriving in Washington at noon for the Members classified briefing scheduled for 2pm. However, the President still has yet to articulate a clear objective, what U.S. national interests are at stake, what our strategy will be, and what our contingency plans are for all possible outcomes. I hope these things become more clear as we debate the appropriate course of action in Syria over the coming days."

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami: "The use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians is a grotesque violation of human rights, which the world cannot ignore.  As a parent and grandparent, I am absolutely devastated to see images of dead children surrounded by wailing relatives in destroyed neighborhoods.  I am deeply troubled and angered by President Assad's reckless disregard for human life as well as his continuing collusion with Iran and Hezbollah. I stand with President Obama in strongly condemning this senseless violence.  I stand ready to work with President Obama and Congressional leaders to determine the appropriate course of action in response to this devastating violence.”

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee "I appreciate the President respecting the role of Congress in determining what steps we should take in Syria. While I am extremely apprehensive about engaging in the civil war there, I look forward to the debate."

Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville: “The responsibility to declare war lies with Congress, and I am glad President Obama is seeking Congressional authorization on any military action in Syria. Using chemical weapons against the innocent is not tolerable on any level. Aside from consulting with Congress, President Obama must also explain his rationale on any action directly to the citizens of this country, underscoring what’s at stake and why action is necessary. The President and his advisors have reviewed the materials at hand. I will do the same in the coming days, analyzing facts from every part our government to determine the best way forward on this most troubling piece of world history.”

Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City: "The President is right to seek authorization from Congress before launching military action, in accordance with the 1973 War Powers Act. While Syria's Bashar al-Assad is a tyrant and a threat to his people's freedoms, I share the concerns of many Americans who are weary of launching a mission that is currently undefined and lacks a clear end game. I look forward hearing from my constituents and bringing their perspectives to the table when Congress reconvenes."

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland: "I join President Obama in strongly condemning the regime's use of chemical weapons against their people. I am glad that the president recognized the need to get Congressional approval to use military force against Bashar al-Assad. Last week, 140 of my colleagues and I sent a letter to the president stating that engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution. There are still more questions to be answered and now the president will need to make the case to all Americans why our involvement in Syria is necessary for our national security."

Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers: "Before making a judgment call and deciding whether to support the President's course of action, I will return to Washington for extensive classified briefings. The administration needs to make its case, putting #AmericaFirst. They will also need to answer questions on the national security threat facing America, how we prevent our troops from getting dragged into a civil war, and how we are going to prevent the loss of American lives. Finally, the Administration must lay out a plan, the end goal and an exit strategy."

@learyreports contributed to this list

 

Comments

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Ana Gomez-Mallada

Last year he shot his mouth off about chemical weapons being a "red line". Well, it has been crossed. And what does he do? Climb the Hill hat-in-hand.

Congress has the power to declare war, but its approval is not required for every use of the US military. That is discussed in the 1973 War Powers Act.

We should have set up a no-fly zone 3 years ago and 1) things would not have come to this; and 2) Assad would probably be gone. And with him some of Iran's nefarious influence. That involves minimal risk in lives, as it does not put boots on the ground. We could do it now. Instead Obama challenged Assad to a figurative bar fight and when Assad stepped outside, he ran away.

Why would you want to be President when you are afraid to make decisions and take responsibility???

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