WASHINGTON – As members of Congress decide whether to support President Obama’s request for authorization to attack the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons on civilians and rebels, MPR News is creating a summary sheet of where the Minnesota delegation stands on the issue. We’ll update this post as we hear more from the 10 member delegation.
Sen. Al Franken (D) – “This is not boots on the ground, this is sending cruise missiles in, and this is a contained and limited engagement,” said Franken in a Sept. 3 interview with MPR News. (In a Sept. 10 statement, Franken called on Obama to narrow the scope on a possible attack on Syria and explain “how we will avoid getting mired in a broader conflict.”)
Rep. Betty McCollum (D) – “This atrocity violates the most basic international standards of acceptable behavior, even in war, and it is too egregious to ignore. President Obama is correct – a forceful, coordinated international response to the Assad regime’s crimes is needed. Yet, an open-ended, poorly defined authorization for the use of military force is not acceptable to me, but neither is the prospect of doing nothing in the face of this evil act against innocent civilians,” said McCollum in a Sept. 5 statement, noting that she backs a narrower resolution authorizing the use of force than proposed by Obama.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) – “There is no such thing as a limited strike,” said Bachmann in a Sept. 4 interview with MPR News.
Rep. Rick Nolan (D) – “I will vote and work against President Obama’s request for open-ended authority to launch military strikes against the Syrian army,” said Nolan in a Sept. 3 statement.
Rep. Collin Peterson (D) – “I don’t see how U.S. military action will accomplish anything toward ending the turmoil over there,” said Peterson in a Sept. 3 statement.
Rep. Tim Walz (D) - “While I believe the use of chemical weapons is despicable and the world must take action to ensure that cruel dictators are not allowed to use such weapons without repercussions, at this time I cannot in good conscience support current proposals to take unilateral, military action,” said Walz in a Sept. 9 statement. (A previous version of this point had Walz as undecided.)
Rep. John Kline (R) – “For more than two weeks, the President has failed to convey to the American people a clear objective for military intervention in Syria,” Kline said in a Sept. 10 statement. “He continues to offer no persuasive rationale, which is why I cannot support the President’s request at this time for U.S. military strikes in Syria.” (A previous version of this post had Kline in the leaning in favor category.)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D) – “If force needs to be used to degrade the use of these weapons and to signal that they better not be used by anyone else or this dictator again, then that’s something I could support if the proper safeguards were in place,” Ellison said to MPR News on Sept. 4.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) – “I believe the President’s request for military action in Syria is too broad, too open-ended, too risky and does not identify a clear U.S. national interest for military engagement and putting U.S. troops in harms way,” said Paulsen in a Sept. 1 statement.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) – “The decision to allow Congress to debate will give us the ability to carefully consider the evidence before making a decision. I believe the current draft of the resolution is too broad and I continue to strongly believe that we should not have American troops on the ground in Syria,” said Klobuchar in a Sept. 3 statement.