News / USA

US Lawmakers Differ on Way Forward in Syria

Dome of the United States Capitol, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. (file photo).Dome of the United States Capitol, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. (file photo).
x
Dome of the United States Capitol, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. (file photo).
Dome of the United States Capitol, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. (file photo).
Michael Bowman
U.S. lawmakers of both political parties are supportive of President Barack Obama’s decision to delay possible military action against Syria while diplomatic efforts evolve. But, members of Congress differ sharply on the feasibility of eliminating all of Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles, despite Damascus’ stated willingness to do so.

One day after President Obama told the nation that he will give diplomacy a chance to neutralize the threat posed by Syria’s chemical weapons, Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern said he is relieved.

“I am happy. It seems we are not going to war," he said. "I think that is a good thing. And I hope that this proposal by the Russians is going to be taken seriously.”

On the other side of the Capitol, Republican Senator John Barrasso said Obama had little choice but to ask Congress to delay votes authorizing military strikes against Syria.

“The president pushed the pause button. And I agree with that, because if the vote were held in the House, he would be lucky to get 100 votes [out of 435]. And the vote would not, I believe, pass the Senate,” he said.

On the Senate floor, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid stressed that U.S. military action has not been ruled out.

“It is in Syria’s power to avoid these strikes. But that will require swift and decisive action on the part of the Assad regime to relinquish these weapons. We need a diplomatic solution to succeed, but just saying we want one does not mean it will happen,” said Reid.

Senator Barrasso is skeptical diplomacy will work.

“I still do not trust the Russians. We cannot even verify that they are destroying their own chemical weapons, let alone [that they] would have control over Syria’s,” he said.

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is cautious but hopeful.

“It is a trust-but-verify situation, of course. But there is hope that this can be done in a more comprehensive way where we get rid of the chemical weapons, [rather] than a military strike, which has all kinds of unforeseen consequences,” he said.

Many lawmakers note that their constituents overwhelmingly oppose military intervention in Syria. Republican Senator Dan Coats says, however the Syria crisis plays out, America should not become embroiled in another faraway conflict.

“I think our interests are not in resolving these wars. We have proven that - we are zero-for-three [no record of success] in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan," said Coats. "The risk of going zero-for-four lies out there with Syria. We have to keep our focus on the jihadists, on those who do not want to control a Middle Eastern country but want to take us  here in America.”

In the meantime, Coats described America’s current posture towards Syria as “in limbo-land,” and says he worries about the signals Washington is sending to America’s adversaries.

You May Like

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid