Colorado lawmakers express thoughts about upcoming debate and vote on military action against Syria

DENVER - Some representatives from Colorado are expressing their thoughts in anticipation of an expected vote concerning a military strike in Syria.

President Barack Obama asked the legislative branch for a resolution permitting him to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn't exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations. The strike would be a reaction to an alleged chemical weapons attack last month.

Representative Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, posted this statement on her website over the weekend:

"I welcome the President’s decision to ask for congressional authority for the use of military force against the Syrian government. Although it is the President’s duty to protect our national security, Congress has the constitutional responsibility and power to approve the use of military force, even if the United States or our interests have not been attacked," said DeGette.

"While there is no question that reported use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians by the Syrian government is abhorrent, the decision to use military force demands a vigorous debate in Congress and with the American people. Before any vote to authorize military action takes place, the President must present compelling evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own people, as well as clearly define the rationale and goals of an intervention to Congress." she said.

Republicans are also reacting to the potential move.

"I am deeply skeptical of U.S. involvement in Syria. There must be a compelling and vital national interest to approve any action, a heavy burden that has not yet been met," said Representative Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, in a statement on his Facebook page.

Late Wednesday, Republican Representative Mike Coffman from Centennial posted this updated statement to his website:

"I applaud President Obama for bringing the issue before Congress despite the fact that his motivations are not based on Constitutional principles but on sharing the political responsibility for military action. 

"The decision for a limited attack is not time sensitive at this point because President Obama signaled his intentions for a limited strike shortly after the August 21st chemical weapons attack in Syria. The Assad regime has had every opportunity since then to prepare for and to execute the movement of personnel, weapons, and equipment in an effort to avoid being targeted.

"I have had two unclassified briefings so far on Syria (last Friday and Sunday).  I remain supportive of the concept of a limited strike in order to deter the Assad regime from the further use of chemical weapons but I have growing concerns about whether such a limited strike could actually accomplish that objective. 

"I'm also strongly opposed to the United States being dragged into the Syrian conflict and I will be asking the tough questions to make sure that such a limited strike is not the first step in expanding our role in their conflict. 

"I will be on Capitol Hill next week in classified briefings (House Armed Services Committee) and I will be able to see how conclusive the evidence is that the Assad regime directed a chemical attack against civilians, what a limited strike might look like and its probability of success, and the assurances that this is not the first step in involving the United States in an intractable sectarian civil war in Syria"

Senator Michael Bennett, a Democrat, also says he is waiting to hear the administration's case.

“He'll make his decision after he sees the evidence and hears the case from the administration. He does believe that Syria's use of chemical weapons can't go unanswered,” said Senator Bennett’s spokesperson Adam Bozzi.

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