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Senators and Reps from Missouri Unsure on Syria Vote

Obama
President Obama speaks on the Syria situation Saturday/Credit: CNN

While Missouri lawmakers in Washington may agree that the President should consult Congress before taking military action against the Assad regime, they’re not saying yet whether they will vote to authorize a U.S. military campaign in Syria. KSMU’s Shane Franklin has the story.

Senator Roy Blunt said in a press release that President Obama should have consulted Congress months ago about Syria, before drawing his red line. Now, Blunt says if the U.S. response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons is not appropriate, then the wrong signal will be sent to the region, particularly to Iran. 

Blunt also says troops on the ground would be a mistake, but measures that achieve no real results would also be a mistake.

Congressman Jason Smith, who represents Missouri’s 8th District, is concerned that the Obama Administration does not have a clear definition of victory if the U.S. were to use force in Syria. He’s not even convinced that there is a connection between the Syrian Civil War and U.S. national security, according to Smith’s spokesperson Justin Gibbs.

Gibbs says that constituents from the Congressman’s district have been vocal about their stance.

 “We have received hundreds of emails and calls from people on all thirty counties of our congressional district urging him to vote against any use of force resolution with Syria. We have heard very very few people who think that it is a good idea to use any force. He is taking all of those thoughts and comments into consideration,” says Gibbs.

Republican Congressman Billy Long, from Missouri’s 7th District, agrees with Smith; noting in an online statement that the President has yet to adequately explain how the Syrian Civil War threatens the American people, or how an American intervention in the region could help protect US interests. 

Long says he remains very skeptical of involving the US in another country’s civil war.

Across the aisle though, Democratic Senator Clair McCaskill doesn’t quite see it that way. She said in a press release that Assad’s use of chemical weapons to murder innocent civilians has clear implications for U.S. national security and the security of our country’s allies.

McCaskill says she’s avoiding announcing how she’ll vote until after the issue is debated in Congress, adding that this will allow for a more honest and robust debate amongst her peers.

McCaskill plans to cancel events in Missouri on Thursday and Friday. She will return to D.C. to receive an in-person briefing on the current state of the conflict, and the President’s plan to move forward.

For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.