Statements on Syria: Oregon and SW Wash. reps express skepticism

Statements on Syria: Oregon and SW Wash. reps express skepticism
FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 file photo taken on a government organized media tour, a Syrian army soldier walks on a street in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, Syria. As the Obama administration tries to prod Congress into backing armed action against Syria, the regime in Damascus is hiding military hardware and shifting troops out of bases into civilian areas. (AP Photo, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. – While leaders in Congress expressed support Tuesday for military action against Syria, many members of Congress from Oregon and Washington remain skeptical. Many are cautious and want more information before making a decision. Below are the statements they have made thus far.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon, 1st District
Sept. 3, 2013

Washington, D.C.--Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) today (Sept. 3, 2013) released the following statement regarding the possibility of U.S. military action in Syria.
"The use of chemical weapons against innocent civilian populations is deplorable, violates international norms, and must not be tolerated, but military action is not always the most appropriate response.

"I will be carefully reviewing the text of any proposed resolution that would authorize the use of military force, and carefully considering the details and scope of specific actions that the President is proposing.  

"There are still many unanswered questions, and I am continuing to gather information from the intelligence community as well as from colleagues and constituents in support and opposed to military action."

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, 3rd District
Sept. 3, 2013

"After urging the President to involve Congress in the decision about whether to attack Syria, when he does so, I owe the courtesy to hear the administration’s arguments and plans for military action before making my final judgment.

"That said, it is hard for me to see a good outcome from military action. It remains unclear to me who the 'good guys' are in this war. There are many possible unintended consequences. Any strike, no matter how limited, carries serious risk of collateral damage to innocent civilians. There is also the strong probability of retaliation from other parties inspired and supported by the Assad Regime, Iran, Hezbollah, or other terrorist forces.

"In the end, the question is what the outcome will be and what next steps will follow, even if the action is 'successful.' I look forward to the evidence and the deliberation. The American public is well served by taking the time to understand and get this right."

Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, 5th District
Sept. 3, 2013

"I appreciate the President seeking the participation of Congress before committing to U.S. military action in Syria. However, I have grave concerns about a broad and open ended authorization for the use of U.S. forces without strong international support and clear, attainable objectives. The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime is reprehensible, but without attainable objectives tied to a clear strategy, direct military intervention is a mistake that will lead to unforeseen consequences. We have much bigger economic security issues at home that threaten our nation."

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Washington, 3rd District.
Sept. 3, 2013

"Jaime is very skeptical that going to war with Syria is in our nation's best interest.  She is keeping an open mind and will listen to the case being made by the president in the coming days.  She does believe President Obama did the right thing in asking for Congressional authorization."

-Drew Griffin, Office of Rep. Herrera Beutler

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon
Sept. 3, 2013

"We'll have a statement eventually, but probably not this week."

-    Tom Towslee, Oregon Communications Director

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon
Sept. 3, 2013

"Senator Merkley will be attending a classified briefing this week on Syria and will confer with his colleagues ahead of the debate.  He wants to know more about the Administration's plan and how they propose to mitigate the risks, and will carefully weigh the various considerations before he makes a decision."

-    Courtney Warner Crowell, Deputy Communications Director

Earlier statements:

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon
Sept. 1, 2013

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) released the following statement in response to the President’s remarks on Syria:

"The President needs to make his case to Congress and to the American people regarding his plan, and what we can anticipate happening after whatever proposed military action is taken.  The Assad regime and its allies will surely have a response.  It's not clear what we may be getting America into."

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington:
Aug. 29, 2013

"The use of chemical weapons, as well as conventional weapons, on innocent civilians in Syria is abhorrent and must end. However, as the recent past has taught us, we must be exceedingly cautious in making any decision that holds the possibility of entangling our nation in a long, drawn-out conflict. So while I have very serious concerns about any military action that would further strain our nation’s servicemembers and limited resources, I also know that, to this point, the President has only discussed considering limited, targeted actions.

"I have been in touch with senior White House officials and have made clear my concerns about repeating many of the mistakes of the past. I await the President’s decision and believe that we must continue to proceed with caution but with the clear goal of protecting innocent families from further attacks."

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington:

No statement yet.

Aug. 28, 2013 – Joint statement from Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, 5th District; Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, 3rd District; Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, 4th District:


Oregon Democratic Representatives Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) today joined more than 100 of Members of Congress in signing a bipartisan letter to President Obama strongly urging him to consult with and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria.

"Any commitment made by President Obama to use U.S. military force against the Syrian government first requires congressional authorization," Rep. Schrader said. "Respectfully, it is the constitutional power of Congress, not the President, to approve military action in situations when we have not been attacked or threatened with an attack. After more than a decade of war and billions of dollars spent, the United States can no longer afford to be the world's police. I urge the President and my colleagues in Congress to continue to work with the international community to end the violence in Syria, but direct U.S. military involvement at this time is one of the worst of many bad options."

"Under the U.S. constitution, the solemn war-making powers were granted to the Legislative Branch, not the Executive," said Rep. DeFazio. "If the president intends to engage U.S. forces, he has an obligation to recall Congress and ask for such authority. In asking for this authorization, he would be required to propose the scope, duration, and objective of the U.S. forces in this conflict. Under the War Powers Resolution, the president can enter into hostilities without approval from Congress only in a situation of immediate national security where U.S. citizens and troops are under attack. In this case the president does not have the authority to act without first consulting Congress. While the use of chemical weapons by any country against their own civilians is morally reprehensible, the U.S. must engage the international community on effective responses through the United Nations Security Council and Congress must assess any recommendations made by the U.N."

"The use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria is appalling and outrageous," said Rep. Blumenauer. “However, rather than rushing into an amazingly complicated and treacherous arena, Congress and the American people should have the opportunity to consider our actions and be mindful of the consequences.