UPDATE: Where Minnesota’s representatives stand on Syria strike

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.

FOR:

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.

AGAINST:

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.)

UNDECIDED/LEANS FOR:

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.

  1. Listen Q&A with Rep. Keith Ellison on military action in Syria

    Sept. 4, 2013

UNDECIDED/LEANS AGAINST:

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.

UNDECIDED:

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.

  • MinnesotaCentral

    FYI : Tim Walz was on KEYC-TV noon newscast and iterated his “undecided” stance … stating that “there are other options” but the reporter did not follow up with what those other options are.

  • MinnesotaCentral

    Isn’t it a shame that so many of these so-called “Representatives” have failed to hold Open, Public, Widely advertised, Town Hall meetings ?
    Although Walz, Nolan, McCollum have acknowledged returning to DC for briefings on the subject, it is not too late for all of them to hold Town Hall meetings to explain their thoughts and hear from their constituents as the House does not return until next Monday (and Walz indicated that there could be a vote on Tuesday or Wednesday.)

  • mason

    It’s interesting how the this spectrum of “decided” (both for and against) though “undecided” also lines up pretty well along the bitter-partisan-who-gives-soundbites-on-every-issue spectrum.

  • gannieca

    One Tomahawk cruise missile cost the tax payers 1.4 million dollars. How many are going to be launched ? I would rather we take the cost of 1 cruise missile and give it to the Syrian refugees who are starving in the over flowing camps in Lebanon and Jordon. What a joke that the Democrat Leaders say we have to bomb Syria because the Government (no absolute proof) used chemical weapons against their own people.. these Democrats were silent when in 2008, during the RNC our own Government used tear gas and pepper spray against peaceful protesters who included elderly and Veterans. Klobuchar was silent then.
    AIPAC must be giving Ellison lots of campaign money for him to support bombing Syria. It is a shame that Democrats call for force when trying to bring peace. They need to go back and read the works of Dr King Jr.
    I know i will not vote for any Congress member who votes for military action.

    • MinnesotaCentral

      Analysts who’ve crunched the numbers on a stand-off strike — the type
      of limited operation the administration says it plans to carry out —
      say the Pentagon’s base budget — more than $500 billion — is plenty
      capable of covering the strike without significant sacrifice to military
      readiness elsewhere.

      There are presently four ships offshore Syria on regular deployment (with a fifth coming in that may be added instead of being routed back.)

      The question should be asked : When a country uses chemical weapons, is that not the reason that America maintains this large war machine ?

      If America will not act now, then it is time to drastically reduce America’s footprint overseas … and instead invest in defending ourselves from cyberattacks and pure missile defense.

      Regarding Congressman Ellison, considering his re-election history, I doubt that AIPAC could influence his decision.
      Isn’t the better question, Why is Michele Bachmann turning her back on Israel just days after wishing them L’Shanah Tova and vowing to protect them always yet Eliot Engel (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Sander Levin (D-MI) AND Eric Cantor (R-VA) — all of the Jewish faith – have stated they support President Obama’s plan.

    • mason

      1 – Tear gas is not a chemical weapon.
      2 – The protesters at the RNC convention were not peaceful.
      3 – Being old or a veteran doesn’t give you immunity when attempting to violently disrupt the democratic process.

  • Mostcurious Monkey

    The whole thing is utter nonsense.

  • Charlie Clark

    Very pleased with my representative’s position. Keep it up Peterson

  • Carol Estrada

    Syrians killed Syrians. What about Rowanda and Darfor? I think it is terrible what happened or is happening in all of these places. But why do we go in to some and not others? Is there another way to go? Maybe get the Russians to cooperate by acknowledging that genocide is not good no matter who does it? There has to be a better way.