Local Lawmakers Split On Syria

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By Andy Alcock
September 3, 2013

A possible military strike in Syria is drawing a mixed response from our area congressional delegation.

President Obama is seeking authorization from Congress for action.

The president sat down with congressional leaders Tuesday morning to make his case for military action against Syria.

"It's proportional, it's limited, it does not involve boots on the ground," he said. "This is not Iraq, this is not Afghanistan," said President Obama.

The president says there's undeniable evidence Syria has used chemical weapons to kill more than 1400 of the country's own people.

Florida and Georgia's U.S. senators generally support a military strike.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson say they'll vote yes.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is undecided.

In a recent statement, Rubio criticized the president for failing to act two years ago by supporting rebels at the outset of the Syrian conflict.

He says "we are now left with no good options."

"I'm going to support the president's call for action," said U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. "I believe my colleagues should support the call for action," he said.

However, while Speaker Boehner is standing with President Obama, support from local members of Congress is more problematic.

Florida Congressman Steve Southerland is undecided while his neighboring colleague Ted Yoho plans to vote no.

Yoho, who's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says "there's no evidence Syria is a national security threat to us."

Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston says he's leaning no while his neighboring colleague Sanford Bishop is undecided.

Congress is currently in recess.

All three Republican senators in our area, Rubio, Chambliss and Isakson say the president should call Congress to Washington immediately to deal with this issue.

As it stands now, Congress will reconvene on Monday.

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